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
Montgomery Clift was nervous about standing up to John Wayne but gained confidence when Howard Hawks told him to play his scenes like David against Goliath. He also urged the young actor to underplay in his scenes with Wayne, particularly the scene in which his character challenges Dunson for the first time. Wayne was also not sure Clift could be convincing as a rugged cowboy, but after that first confrontation scene he told Hawks his doubts were gone and "he's going to be okay." See more »
When they are driving the cattle and go to the aid of the wagon train, a communications mast can be seen on the hill in the background of one shot of the five horsemen. The next shot is a closer view of one rider and the mast can be seen even more clearly. 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 »
According to Peter Bogdanovich, the shorter version is in fact the Director's Cut. Howard Hawks was unhappy with the pacing of the longer, 133 minute cut. See more »
Epic Western about the first massive cattle drive from Texas to Abilene along with the Chisholm Trail
Highly watchable and classic Hawks epic about a grueling cattle drive Western and a confrontation between father and son . Tom Dunson (John Wayne , Hawks originally offered the role of Thomas Dunson to Gary Cooper) builds a cattle empire with his adopted son Matthew Garth (Montgomery Clift first movie , but because it was shelved for 2 years, the first film the public saw of Clift was ¨The search¨, which he was Oscar-nominated for). Tom decides to make a dangerous Trek North , refusing to listen to any advice from his son . Together they begin a cattle drive north from Texas to the Missouri railhead . But on the way, new information and Dunson's tyrannical manners cause Matthew to take over the herd away from obsessed Tom and head to a new railhead in Kansas. Then Dunson, swearing revenge . This sprawling flick deals with the first cattle drive from Texas to Abilene (a biblical name meaning city of the plains), along the Chisholm Trail .Abilene was the first of the major railhead cattle towns . From 1867 to 1872 it was a booming depot , shipping some one million Texas Longhorns by railroad to Kansas City and Chicago and meat markets in the East . The place was selected as a terminus for Texas cattle drives in 1867 . Then the long drives began from Texas over the Chisholm trail . At trail's end in Abilene the rowdy,free-spending cowboys attracted saloon keepers, gamblers , brothels and all types of frontier Riff-Raff , the town became notorious for its lawlessness . Gunmen were hired for a time to keep the peace in Abilene . With the numerous presence of homesteaders the town prospered , stabilized and grew , its lawabiding citizens decided to discourage the troublesome cattle trade with his transient cowboys and early requested the Texas cattlemen to drive their herds elsewhere , which they soon did and Abilene's role as a wild cow town came to an abrupt ending.
The picture gets thrills , action Western , shootouts , a love story , a violent battle of wits between father and adopted son ; being quite entertaining . It's a big budget film with good actors , technicians, production values , pleasing results and usually regarded as one of the Westerns ever made . Interesting screenplay based on a serial published in ¨Saturday Evening Post¨ in which subsequently Borden Chase wrote a book titled ¨Blazing guns on the Chisholm trail¨ . The famous scene where Montgomery Clift and John Ireland compare their revolvers was allegedly a reference to John Ireland's endowment, it may also be a reference to Clift's homosexuality. Howard Hawks was distressed by John Ireland's unprofessional and lecherous behavior during filming, which were partially due to the actor's alcoholism , this contributed to Ireland's part, "Cherry Valance", being drastically reduced in the finished film. In spite of , a bit later on , John Ireland married Joanne Dru , film's starring and Montgomery's very nominal interest . At one point, Cary Grant was in consideration for the part , though he turned it down . Dazzling scenarios and impressive production design , including thousands of cows . Towering acting from main cast playing larger-than-life characters as John Wayne as obsessed Tom who owns a sprawling cattle empire , and Montgomery Clift giving one of his most enjoyable and least complicated acting . Great supporting cast headed by three-time Academy Award winner Walter Brennan , John Ireland , Hank Worden , Paul Fix , Noah Beery , Coleen Gray and the only film that father, Harry Carey, and son, Harry Carey Jr. appeared together in . The great veteran Harry Carey Senior , whose last movie this was , and to whom its is dedicated .
Musical composer Dimitri Tiomkin's rousing soundtrack , the theme song, "Settle Down" was later adapted by the score's author, Dimitri Tiomkin, and sung by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson under the title "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" in Río Bravo, another John Wayne western directed by Howard Hawks . Evocative cinematography by Russell Harlan , though Hawks originally wanted Gregg Toland as his director of photography , when Toland proved unavailable, he had to go with Harlan instead. Subsequently was restored and realized a colorized version , furthermore a remake for TV (1988) with James Arness and Bruce Boxleitner . Grand scale movie stunningly directed by Howard Hawks at his pinnacule , being supported by Arthur Rosson in 2º unit and by excellent editor Christian Nyby . Realized in sure visual eye , it ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Western" and was 1948's third highest grossing film at $4,150,000. Rating : A Western masterpiece , above average , essential and indispensable seeing .
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