Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Fourteen years after starting his cattle ranch in Texas, Tom Dunston is finally ready to drive his 10,000 head of cattle to market. Back then Dunston, his sidekick Nadine Groot and a teen-aged boy, Matt Garth -who was the only survivor of an Indian attack on a wagon train - started off with only two head of cattle. The nearest market however is in Missouri, a 1000 miles away. Dunston is a hard task master demanding a great deal from the men who have signed up for the drive. Matt is a grown man now and fought in the Civil War. He has his own mind as well and he soon runs up against the stubborn Dunston who won't listen to advice from anyone. Soon, the men on the drive are taking sides and Matt ends up in charge with Dunston vowing to kill him.Written by
In a 1974 interview, Howard Hawks said that he originally offered the role of Thomas Dunson to Gary Cooper but he had declined it because he didn't believe the ruthless nature of Dunson's character would have suited his screen image. See more »
Just before they begin the drive, Dunson rides up and asks Matt, "ready, Matthew?" Matt replies, "all ready." However, Matt simply nods and doesn't say anything. See more »
When we get back to the ranch, I want you to change the brand. It'll be like this: The Red River D, and we'll add an M to it. You don't mind that, do you?
You earned it.
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Opening credits prologue: Among the annals of the great state of Texas may be found the story of the first drive on the famous Chisholm Trail. A story of one of the great cattle herds of the world, of a man and a boy--Thomas Dunson and Matthew Garth, the story of the Red River D. See more »
Howard Hawks' rangy Western has a perfect role for John Wayne and a nice introductory one for Montgomery Clift within the tale of a cattle trail by the Red River D herd through Indian and gang-led territory.
It's in part your usual Old West tale with a father-son-substitute parallel along the way, with Walter Brennan chipping in as the wise old chorus and Joanne Dru (briefly) as the voice of reason. However the main characters are well drawn and the conflict at times feels real.
As a visual experience, it makes full use of the wide and empty landscapes and looks beautiful (although not in the colorised version occasionally seen). No real surprises but in substance and atmosphere it is certainly a superior example of its type.
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