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The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)

1:44 | Trailer
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.


George Waggner


George Waggner





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... John Breen
Vera Ralston ... Fleurette De Marchand
Philip Dorn ... Col. Georges Geraud
Oliver Hardy ... Willie Paine
Marie Windsor ... Ann Logan
John Howard ... Blake Randolph
Hugo Haas ... Gen. Paul De Marchand
Grant Withers ... George Hayden
Odette Myrtil ... Madame De Marchand
Paul Fix ... Beau Merritt
Mae Marsh ... Sister Hattie
Jack Pennick ... Capt. Dan Carroll
Mickey Simpson ... Jacques
Fred Graham ... Carter Ward
Mabelle Koenig Mabelle Koenig ... Marie


Following Napoleon's Waterloo defeat and the exile of his officers and their families from France, the U.S.Congress, in 1817, granted four townships in the Alabama territory to the exiles. Led by Colonel Georges Geraud and General Paul DeMarchand, the struggling settlers have made a thriving community, called Demopolis, by the summer of 1819. On a shopping trip to Mobile, Fleurette DeMarchand, the General's daughter, meets John Breen, a Kentucky rifleman, who detours his regiment through Demopolis to court her. But Fleurette, despite her wish to marry for love, must bow to the needs of her fellow exiles, who are at the mercy of the rich and wealthy Blake Randolph, and who wants her as his bride. But John Breen has no intention of allowing that to happen, resigns from his regiment, and takes up the fight against Randolph and his hirelings. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ROUGHER, TOUGHER, MORE ROMANTIC THAN EVER! (original and reissue posters)


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Czech-born Vera Ralston was considered miscast as a French character. See more »


At the beginning of the final battle, Fleurette runs out to give a weapon to John Breen. She brings neither a shot pouch or powder horn. Breen is also carrying neither of these items. However, he is somehow able to reload and fire the musket a number of times thereafter. See more »


John Breen: What kept ya'?
Capt. Dan Carroll: Andy Jackson was makin' a speech.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in Frances Farmer Presents: The Fighting Kentuckian (1959) See more »


Eight Hundred Miles to Go
Music Arranged by George Antheil
New Lyrics by George Waggner
Performed by John Wayne, Oliver Hardy, Jack Pennick and others
See more »

User Reviews

Grapes and olives don't fare well in Alabama
19 March 2007 | by horn-5See all my reviews

In 1817, following a land-grant Act of Congress, written to aide Napoleon-supporters in the War of 1812, 340 French families settled on four townships in Alabama. They arrived in Mobile, Alabama on the ship "McDonough" and made their headquarters in a small community named "White Bluff." A year later, with the community developed into a thriving village by their labors, they renamed it "Demopolis," an ancient Greek name meaning "City of the People." These Napoleonic exiles chose not to give it a French name that would recall their native land.

These cultured colonists, from the drawing rooms and military heritage of the old French aristocracy, were likely the least-prepared of any of the immigrant groups who settled the American wilderness, and soon found themselves pioneering the rugged interior of Alabama with illiterate traders, squatters and Indians for their neighbors. They called themselves "The Association of French Emigrants for the Cullivation of the Vine and Olive", but their attempt at olive and grape culture was a complete failure. The Indians taught them how to grow corn and beans, but when they discovered that through a surveying error they inadvertently had built their city outside the chartered boundaries, they drifted away, either returning to France or settling in Mobile or New Orleans. But Napoleon was no great hand when it came to reading maps and recognizing boundaries, either.

Director/writer George Waggner took the surveying mistake and converted it to a land-grab scheme, threw in a motley group of rugged Kentucky militiamen, returning from the Battle of New Orleans, used the most diverse cast in any of the American-frontier films from Republic...and then tossed in ten pounds of plot into a five-pound container. Most of which worked. Aside from the thematic song, a traditional called "Kentucky Marching Song", in which he wrote new lyrics to go with George Anthiel's arrangement. Neither of which, apparently, spent much time on the writing or the arranging.

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Release Date:

15 September 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Strange Caravan See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

John Wayne Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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