In 1818 Alabama, French settlers are pitted against greedy land-grabber Blake Randolph but Kentucky militiaman John Breen, who's smitten with French gal Fleurette De Marchand, comes to the settlers' aid.
In British colonial America, Captain Swanson's adherence to the rules results in Trader Callendar's selling to the Indians under cover of a government permit. Jim Smith won't sit still for that. He organizes troopers to dress up as Indians and intercept the shipments which, of course, gets him thrown in jail.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
THRILL-ROMANCE OF THE YEAR! Fighting man and wildcat blonde.. daring the days when Pittsburgh was 'way out West!' (Print Ad-Fort Dodge Messenger-Chronicle, ((Fort Dodge, Iowa)) 14 March 1940) See more »
The American Film Institute of Feature Films (1931-1940) erroneously identifies actor Clay Clement as the actor playing John Smith; Clements portrays John Penn, not Smith. John Smith does not figure in this story. See more »
The shooting demonstration done in court was described as taking place at twenty paces. Twenty paces is equal to approximately 60 feet; the shots fired in the film were at approximately 20 feet. See more »
Men, we've fought and won. But in winning we have lost something. In defending one law, we've come to despise all law. And if you go on like this, we'll destroy the very thing we fight for.
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Opening credits prologue:
This is a tale, laid in the Allegheny Mountains, of Jim Smith and his black boys, loyal subjects of His Majesty King George III - and their fight against the Delaware Indians in the year 1759. See more »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
Music traditional - English origin (ca. 1755)
Arranged by Anthony Collins
Sung by the men at MacDougall's tavern
Reprised by the men after the trial
Variations in the score throughout See more »
Shadow Boxing with the British
American colonists in Pennsylvania rise up against an English army that allows illegal trading with the Indians.
The movie might be more properly titled San Fernando Valley Uprising since the terrain is familiar from a thousand matinée Westerns. Still, the producers popped for a bunch of extras with redcoats and also an impressive looking fort that even has realistic tree stumps indicating a cleared forest on the approaches.
To me, however, the movie's a disappointment. More importantly, the material shows why John Ford was such a master of this type of movie— that is,"winning the West" with roistering men and headstrong women, amusing drunks and slippery villains. The trouble here is that there's nothing humorous about the obnoxious drunk (Lawson), while Trevor in a padded part goes way over the top as a tomboy, but worse, she's allowed to interrupt the action just as it gets rolling.
The screenplay doesn't help either. Note that despite all the shooting and confrontations, no redcoat kills a colonist or vice-versa-- a rather strange outcome for an armed "uprising". My guess is that the pre-war year 1939 didn't want to show potential allies against the Nazis killing each other; then again, maybe American or British casualties would have complicated sorting out blame, which otherwise lies with the sneaky traders (Donlevy & Wolfe). Whatever the reason, it remains a pretty unbelievable development, given all the shooting.
On the other hand, Wayne shows potential as an outstanding leader of men, while Sanders is excellent as usual as a literate snob, this time an English officer. I did miss a strong Ward Bond-type as Wayne's buddy instead of the rather foolish professor (Hamilton). Anyway, the elements don't really gel into the kind of action movie that gets remembered. I just wish that superb story teller John Ford had gotten hold of the material first.
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