History, as portrayed in this film, has been a succession of conquests of stronger races over weaker ones. As played out on the stage of Monument Valley, long ago, tribes of Indians ...
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History, as portrayed in this film, has been a succession of conquests of stronger races over weaker ones. As played out on the stage of Monument Valley, long ago, tribes of Indians defeated the ancient cliff dwellers; then came the Europeans to conquer the Indians. Now, in the early 20th Century, a tribe of Navajo live on a reservation overseen by an Indian-hating agent, Booker. He and his men steal the best Indian horses for their own profit. Nophaie, a tribal leader, complains to Booker's higher-ups, but he is unable to gain fair treatment from the whites. When World War I breaks out, an Army captain comes west in search of the horses that Booker was supposed to have bought from the Indians for a fair price. Marian Warner, the teacher at the Indian School, has befriended Nophaie, teaching him to read; she convinces him that the Great War is a fight for a more just world, and that, when that world comes, the Indian will be better treated. Nophaie not only brings horses for the Army,...Written by
George S. Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The rumor about the herd of 14 bison being brought to Catalina Island for the filming of this movie was debunked by the curator of the Catalina Museum on the PBS show California's Gold (1991). See more »
Interesting drama from Paramount tells the story of Indians and how they fought to try and gain acceptance after having everything stolen from them. This film centers on Nophaie (Richard Dix), a man whose bravery leads the Indians into WW1 as well as fighting their battles at home. While this adaptation of Zane Grey's story isn't as great as one might hope, there are enough interesting bits here to make it worth sitting through. The film starts off with a nice prologue where we see various "forms" of people from the early caveman, to cave dwellers and then the Indian. These shorter sequences all look extremely good and especially the cave dwellers segment, which is real eye candy especially with the sets that really were built on cliffs. The entire look of this city makes you feel as if you're really there and this continues during the next sequence where we finally get to see the Indians and their early time here. We get some brief comic moments including their thoughts when they first see a horse but this soon turns to some battle sequences that are also well executed. I was surprised to see how graphic some of the violence was and this includes a scene with an Indian full of spikes through his body as well as another brutal scene with an Indian being shot and falling from a cliff. These early war scenes look extremely realistic as does the later one when Nophaie is fighting in WW1. Some could rightfully argue that this film's entire message of peace is pretty much wasted as the majority of the Indians here are played by white men with brown paint on. I think a lot of viewers today will see this and not even pay attention to the message here as they'll see it being double sided but it's important to remember when this movie was made and the fact that a lot of these message movies quite often appear just as racist as the film's their trying to go against. What really makes one scratch their head is the fact that this make up put on the actors is clearly melting during several scenes yet no one tried to touch it up to make it less obvious that we weren't seeing an Indian. With that said, Dix, Lois Wilson, Noah Beery and Malcolm McGregor all turn in fine performances. Each were believable in their roles with Beery clearly stealing the film and Dix coming off as a good lead even though he's be much better in 1929's REDSKIN. The biggest problem with the film is that it jumps around a bit too much and the love story itself is rather weak. The 110-minute running time could have been cut down without too much being missed. Movie legend would have one believe that John Ford discovered Monument Valley but that's certainly not the case as it's fully on display here. The images captured of it are truly breathtaking and these here are reason enough to sit through the movie.
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