6.9/10
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Dark Command (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 15 April 1940 (USA)
In Kansas, during the Civil War opposing pro-Union and pro-Confederate camps clash and visiting Texan Bob Seton runs afoul of William Cantrell's Raiders.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Grover Jones (screenplay), Lionel Houser (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claire Trevor ... Mary McCloud
John Wayne ... Bob Seton
Walter Pidgeon ... William 'Will' Cantrell
Roy Rogers ... Fletch McCloud
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Doc Grunch (as George Hayes)
Porter Hall ... Angus McCloud
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Cantrell / Mrs. Adams
Raymond Walburn ... Judge Buckner
Joe Sawyer ... Bushropp (as Joseph Sawyer)
Helen MacKellar ... Mrs. Hale
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dave
Trevor Bardette ... Mr. Hale
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Storyline

When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A drama of undying love

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Comando Negro See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA "High Fidelity" Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: Some portions of this photoplay are based upon actual incidents in the lives of its principal characters. All other events and characters are fictitious, and any similarity to actual events or persons is coincidental. See more »

Goofs

Observing Cantrell's uniform, Bob Seton tells him, "General Beauregard and the Fifth Army are a long ways from here, but that doohickus on your collar says Fifth Army." In the Confederate Army, collar insignia only indicated an officer's rank, not which general's army he belonged to. Furthermore, Civil War armies were not numbered like U.S. forces in the twentieth century, but instead took their names from states, regions, rivers, etc. (ex. the Army of Tennessee, the Army of the Potomac). See more »

Quotes

Bob 'Shortcut' Seton: Folks, it's true. I don't know much about the law. Ain't had much book learning. But the good Lord gave me a nose for smelling a horse thief a mile off. And what you need in these parts is a marshal that's better at smelling than spelling.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In those years, 1859 and on, in the dusk before the nation plunged into the red night of civil warfare, the plains of Kansas were an earlier battleground. Down from the north, down to Kansas: up from the south, up to Kansas, came hordes - each bent on voting the territory into the Union as its own. The battle cry of the day was - - "On to Kansas." See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Edited into Law of the Golden West (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

(Oh My Darling) Clementine
(uncredited)
Written by Percy Montrose
Played at Cantrell's Camp
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Wish for Walsh's Last Command
28 August 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

John Wayne (as Bob Seton) stars in a Civil War-era film wherein he runs for Marshall of a Kansas town, against wicked schoolteacher Walter Pidgeon (as Will Cantrell). Of course, they are rivals for the attention of a woman - beautiful Claire Trevor (as Mary McCloud). Roy Rogers adds additional charm as brother McCloud. The story is rather more ordinary than intriguing, but the western scores on several fronts…

First, the direction by Raoul Walsh is outstanding. The production is well-mounted; it includes the expected exciting climax, but that's not all... Even better than the climatic ending is a spectacular sequence involving a stagecoach. Don't miss it! The indoor scenes are great, too. Watch the scenes in the Barber Shop, for example: witness the sets, direction, and photography. The placement of characters and objects, along with the great street outdoors, provide terrific visual depth.

The story doesn't do the production justice, however. And, some of the performances are merely adequate; and, sometimes they seem unfocused. Mr. Pidgeon's is probably the most consistent of the main players. Mr. Wayne and some of the players might have improved with some additional worked on their characterizations; and, if the story was sharper, "Dark Command" might have been a truer classic.

******* Dark Command (1940) Raoul Walsh ~ John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Walter Pidgeon


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