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
At the start of filming, John Wayne had serious doubts if Montgomery Clift would be manly enough to play a character that stood up to him. His first few scenes with Clift almost immediately changed his mind. See more »
In long shot as the herd is driven across the river, Walter Brennan in the wagon distant from the camera is noticeably clutching the seat with the reins passing under him to a concealed driver as the vehicle descends steeply into the water. See more »
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 »
The director's cut restores 8 minutes of footage normally cut from the tv version of the film (back to the original 133 minutes). See more »
Red River(1948) is a film that gets better with age. This was the first of five Howard Hawks/John Wayne features. Red River(1948) was Howard Hawks third straight gem right after To Have & Have Not(1944) and The Big Sleep(1946). John Wayne had come a long way from his low budget Lone Star film days.
The film is considered a Western take on The Mutiny on the Bounty. The relationship between Tom Dunson and Matt Garth is deeply complex. Although they're prepared to kill each other, deep down they still respect for one another. This relationship is based on control, idealism, respect, and trust.
It takes a fascinating look at the cattle drive during the Wild West. The film shows the responsbility that went with driving cattle across country and the different road blocks that many riders were faced with. Red River(1948) shows that the cattle drives were a cowboy's main source of work. City Slickers(1991) would do a wonderful homage to this Howard Hawks classic.
Tom Dunson, Ringo Kid, and Ethan Edwards to name a few are some of the best characters played by the duke. He exhibits here that he was a great actor as well as a great Hollywood star. Its a shame that his best performances were overlooked by by many people during his lifetime(he's definitely a superior actor compared to the likes of Stallone, Arnold, and Willis combined). It was actually filmed during 1946 but was shelved for two year due to a legal battle with Howard Hughes.
Montgomery Clift stands out on his own as Matt Garth in acting next to John Wayne. Walter Brennan is excellent in the role of Tom Dunson's sidekick. Red River(1948) was one of the best film to come out of 1948. Red River(1948) contains a trademark flirtious man-woman relationship between Matt Garth and Tess that also evident in some of the director's other works...I.E., His Girl Friday(Walter & Hildy), Ball of Fire(Potts & O'Shea), To Have & Have Not(Harry & Slim), The Big Sleep(Phillip Marlowe & Vivian Sternwood), and Rio Bravo(John T. Chance & Feathers).
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