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I Will Fight No More Forever (1975)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, History | TV Movie 14 April 1975
In a period when many thought that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian," Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce won the admiration of the American Public.

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Captain Wood
...
...
Toma
...
John Kauffman ...
Wahlitits
Nick Ramus ...
Rainbow
Frank Salsedo ...
White Bird
Vince St. Cyr ...
Chief Looking Glass (as W. Vincent St. Cyr)
Charles Ynfante ...
Yellow Wolf
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Storyline

Re-enactment of the story of Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé Indians, who lived in the beautiful Wallowa Valley of Idaho and Oregon. In 1877, President Grant opened the Valley to white settlement, and the Nez Percé were given 30 days in which to move to the Lapwai Reservation. The government sent the one-armed soldier-chief, General Oliver Otis Howard, to clear all Nez Percé out of Wallowa Valley. Chief Joseph, in a succession of shrewd military actions, outmaneuvered ten pursuing units of the U.S. Army until his outnumbered band -- sick, starving, and tired -- finally surrendered after a 1700-mile, 108-day fighting retreat. On October 8, 1877, Chief Joseph made his noble speech, "from where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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14 April 1975 (USA)  »

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Indians  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Captain Wood: General, would you permit a word of advice? Tell them all to go to hell!
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User Reviews

 
Powerful and Engrossing - superbly told and superbly acted history
14 March 2004 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

The story itself is powerful and engrossing on its own merits. The Nez Perce who had signed a treaty with the government to inhabit the Oregon River Valley were given an ultimatum by the US government in 1877 voiding that treaty. They had four days to decide whether to move or fight. General Howard -- after whom Howard University is named -- went to Congress personally to fight against this injustice, but in the end, as a general, felt compelled to execute his orders, even though he knew them to be unjust. He hates doing this because he considers Joseph a great Chief and a friend; his wife even made a doll for Joseph's expectant wife.

Meanwhile, bitter at the sting of more injustices but resigned to reality, Chief Joseph (a breathtakingly great performance by Ned Romero) decides that it is in the best interests of the tribe to acquiese. But a civilian volunteer shoots and kills two of the Nez Perce delegation under a flag of truce, and the tribe fights for its survival. Now, even though General Howard (sympathetically portrayed by James Whitmore) knows the Army's volunteers fired first, he is compelled to attack the Nez Perce to attempt to round them up to the reservation. Too late. The Nez Perce have already left, attempting to find freedom, eventually trying to cross the Canadian border, while every step of the way, the Army tries to hunt them down and capture Chief Joseph.

The movie, wisely, maintains its focus on the this journey and struggle. Gallantly, the tribe scales impossible terrain. Joseph frustrates the Army with false trails, games of cat-and-mouse, and resisting revenge. As the frustration wears on and the newspapers catch wind of the story, General Howard's life becomes a living hell. What was supposed to have been a two-week maneuver has been become a five-month campaign with hundreds of soldiers and Indians killed in the process. The General gets moral support from Colonel Miles (portrayed by Sam Elliott perhaps just a little bit too earnestly and emphatically); he speaks Nez Perce and Sioux and is disgusted by his government's lack of morals. His character will get on the nerve of those viewers who dislike "preachy" films.

Every thing else feels amazingly authentic. The tribal counsels and increasing weariness as the struggles continue are vividly and unforgettably portrayed by a mostly Native American cast. The score and cinematography are quite gripping. Some of the technical support and cuts however do reflect the film's made-for-TV roots.

This is one of the best historical movies I have ever seen, made-for-TV, or otherwise. I strongly recommend it to all readers of this review.


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