After Custer and the 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Indians, everyone expects the worst. Capt. Nathan Brittles is ordered out on patrol but he's also required to take along Abby Allshard, wife of the Fort's commanding officer, and her niece, the pretty Olivia Dandridge, who are being evacuated for their own safety. Brittles is only a few days away from retirement and Olivia has caught the eye of two of the young officers in the Company, Lt. Flint Cohill and 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell. She's taken to wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair, a sign that she has a beau in the Cavalry, but refuses to say for whom she is wearing it.Written by
When Sgt. Quincannon (Victor McLaglen) is addressing the troops and warning them to "watch them words," he asks who owns a dog that had wandered over and was watching the assembled soldiers. Not receiving an answer, he concludes, "Nice dog! Irish setter!" The scene was improvised on the spot by director John Ford. The dog was an unnamed Navajo pet that had fallen asleep during the setup. Multiple takes were required because McLaglen kept blowing the line, calling the dog a "cocker spaniel." See more »
While traveling in southern Utah, the troops come across a traveling band of Arapaho. The Arapaho lived in eastern Colorado and Wyoming and would be an
unlikely find in southern Utah. See more »
Captain Nathan Brittles:
I don't know where you got your brains, Sergeant - God must have given you that pair of eyes. They're Arapahos, alright. Headin' the same way we are. Now why would they be movin' on Sudrow's Wells, Sergeant? Answer me that.
My mother didn't raise any sons to be makin' guesses in front of Yankee captains.
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Like "My Darling Clementine", Ford used the name of a song and even more than in Clementine, he deviated from the pattern of a standard western. Although the basic structure is a story of war with Indians, there is more focus on the people, which are the essence of this great film. Joanne Dru is the beautiful niece of the commanding officer and she thrives on her power of seduction. When she wears the yellow ribbon, both John Agar and Harry Carey Jr hope it is for them. John Wayne is a captain who is going to retire, he is the one who knows it all, and his relationship with Ben Johnson, an ex confederate, is a model of human respect. Victor McLaglen is the strong,loyal Irishman who loves to fight and drink. There are some incredibly beautiful shots of Monument Valley in great color.When Joanne Dru at a certain moment feels guilty about all the trouble she caused and says to Wayne she is sorry, he tells her not to apologize for it is a sign of weakness, and considering all the excitement and joy she brought to the cavalry, he is certainly right.
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