6.9/10
1,742
26 user 11 critic

The Plainsman (1936)

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Waldemar Young (screen play), Harold Lamb (screen play) | 4 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Union Pacific (1939)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 1885, a Texas Ranger travels to Canada to arrest a trapper who's wanted for murder and who's stirring up the Natives in a rebellion against the Canadian government.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, Paulette Goddard
Arizona (1940)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

During the 1860s Tucson, a pioneer woman struggles to succeed in the freight and cattle business while at risk at the hands of corrupt and violent local businessmen and rampaging Indians.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Jean Arthur, William Holden, Warren William
Buffalo Bill (1944)
Biography | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, legendary westerner, from his days as an army scout to his later activities as owner of a Wild West show.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Joel McCrea, Maureen O'Hara, Linda Darnell
The Westerner (1940)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport
The Crusades (1935)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

King Richard and the Third Crusade (1190-1192) are given the DeMille treatment with more spectacle than history.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Loretta Young, Henry Wilcoxon, Ian Keith
The Virginian (1929)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A good-natured cowboy who is romancing the new schoolmarm has a crisis of conscience when he discovers his best friend is engaged in cattle rustling.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Huston, Mary Brian
Easy Living (1937)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland
Cleopatra (1934)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The man-hungry Queen of Egypt leads Julius Caesar and Mark Antony astray, amid scenes of DeMillean splendor.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor, and eventually leads to tragedy.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three British soldiers on the Northwest Frontier of India struggle against the enemy - and themselves.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone, Richard Cromwell
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A city girl on a bus tour of the West encounters a handsome rodeo cowboy who helps her forget her simpy city suitors.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Jean Arthur, John Wayne, Charles Winninger
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Wild Bill Hickok
Jean Arthur ... Calamity Jane
James Ellison ... Buffalo Bill Cody
Charles Bickford ... John Lattimer
Helen Burgess Helen Burgess ... Louisa Cody
Porter Hall ... Jack McCall
Paul Harvey ... Yellow Hand
Victor Varconi ... Painted Horse
John Miljan ... Gen. George A. Custer
Frank McGlynn Sr. ... Abraham Lincoln
Granville Bates ... Van Ellyn
Frank Albertson ... A Young Trooper
Purnell Pratt ... Capt. Wood
Fred Kohler ... Jake - A Teamster (as Fred Kohler Sr. in End Credit)
Pat Moriarity Pat Moriarity ... Sgt. McGinnis (as Pat Moriarty)
Edit

Storyline

With the end of the North American Civil War, the manufacturers of repeating rifles find a profitable means of making money selling the weapons to the North American Indians, using the front man John Lattimer to sell the rifles to the Cheyenne. While traveling in a stagecoach with Calamity Jane and William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and his young wife Louisa Cody that want to settle down in Hays City managing a hotel, Wild Bill Hickok finds the guide Breezy wounded by arrows and telling that the Indians are attacking a fort using repeating rifles. Hickok meets Gen. George A. Custer that assigns Buffalo Bill to guide a troop with ammunition to help the fort. Meanwhile the Cheyenne kidnap Calamity Jane, forcing Hickok to expose himself to rescue her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Held der Prärie See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne very much wanted the role of Wild Bill Hickok, which he felt certain would make him a star, but director Cecil B. DeMille wanted Gary Cooper instead. See more »

Goofs

Abraham Lincoln leaves for the theatre, and is shot within a matter of minutes. In reality, it was two hours between Lincoln's arrival and assassination. See more »

Quotes

Louisa Cody: Will, does he kill like that?
Buffalo Bill Cody: Ain't a corpse-maker like him, honey!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK DVD is cut by 2 secs to remove a horsefall. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Effie I. Canning
Hummed by Jean Arthur when she shows the hand cradle to the indians
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Crookeder than a rattlesnake"
20 March 2010 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

There were not a lot of Westerns in the 1930s, at least not in the A-budget bracket. So why would that canny marketeer and bandwagon-hopper Cecil B. DeMille decide to make one in 1936? The answer is simple. After the failure of his few dramas in the early talkie period, he vowed to make only "big" pictures, and the Old West was simply another historical arena for grand heroic exploits, just like the crusades or the high seas.

This being DeMille, the idea seems to have been to do a kind of definitive take on the setting. Waldemar Young and Harold Lamb, DeMille's current hacks-du-jour, along with "Oklahoma" playwright Lynn Riggs have created a screenplay that is not so much a cliché-fest as a cosy, sanitised and highly anachronistic snapshot of Western mythology. So we get Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and General Custer all cheerfully rubbing shoulders like an Old West version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and banding together against the common enemy (the injuns, of course). DeMille's penchant for historical accuracy may give the sets and costumes a look of authenticity, but does not extend as far as actually portraying Calamity as a drunken prostitute, and Hickok as a kind of 19th-century Lemmy from Motorhead.

The two leads may not look like their historical counterparts, but at least Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur have the rugged demeanour of frontierspeople. They are also good enough performers to do a decent job despite a lack of coaching from DeMille. But as is often the case, the most interesting players are the villains. Charles Bickford looks as if he was chiselled from the buttes of the plains themselves, and gives a performance comparable to Walter Huston's Trampas in the 1929 version of The Virginian. Victor Varconi, once a handsome lead man in the silents, now thanks to his accent and looks reduced to playing all manner of swarthy baddies, is compellingly menacing as Painted Horse. And finally a young Anthony Quinn makes a short but impressive appearance as a Cheyenne warrior, lending a degree of dignity to the natives that is woefully absent in the rest of the picture.

DeMille himself though does not appear to have "got" the genre. Despite the title, we don't really get to see those plains, and there is none of the romance of the outdoor lifestyle that makes classic Westerns what they are. But looking at DeMille's style you can see he is not a fan of empty spaces. Bigness for him means fullness. He really goes to town on the steamboat boarding scene, conjuring up an image of lively bustle with people moving across the frame in layers receding in depth. This is a very effective way of making a place look crowded without having to place the camera too far back or hire out every extra on the books. In other scenes, such as the one where the townspeople threaten to tar and feather Jean Arthur he uses extras to build walls around the action, filling every spare space with people. Even in simpler scenes there tends to be a degree of complexity to the shot, like a classical painting that tries to cram every aspect of an idea onto the canvas. And DeMille's images are often beautiful in a painterly way, but still the lack of "west" on display stops this from feeling like a Western.

Think of this then more as an adventure yarn than a horse opera. It may be silly as silly can be (my favourite daft moment is in the opening scene, when Abe Lincoln's wife bursts into a meeting to remind him he's going to be late for the theatre, followed by a doom-laden chord in the background score), but it is not bad as far as no-brainer entertainment goes. The action scenes are exciting and punchy, largely thanks to the dynamic editing of Anne Bauchens. This is by no means essential DeMille, and certainly not essential Cooper, but is good fun if you happen to catch it.


12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed