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
Although several reviewers praised John Wayne's portrayal, the general critical consensus was not in favor of his trying something new and expanding his range. Wayne recalled rather bitterly that he never got the credit he deserved for the picture, so he just went back to "re-acting" for the rest of his career. See more »
In a scene where Capt. Brittles takes flowers to his wife's grave, he speaks and "tells her" that Custer has been killed, and he speaks in a manner as if they had been old friends and recalls her dancing with one of Custer's dead comrades. Custer was born in 1839 and was only 36 at the time of his Death (1876), and hardly likely to have known Brittles who was in an older generation and at least 25 years older. See more »
St. Patrick's Day
Traditional Irish tune
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the best of the cavalry trilogy
The fact that the names of Captain Nathan Brittles and Sgts Tyree and Quincannon have passed, not just into the mythology of the American western, but of movies themselves is testament to the iconic status of Ford's 1949 masterpiece, the second and best of what became known as his cavalry trilogy. That their names are also burned into our collective cinematic consciousness is also testament to the performances of John Wayne, Ben Johnson and Victor McLaglen who are all at their best here and yet are only part of a great ensemble that also includes that very fine and undervalued actress Joanne Dru as well as Mildred Natwick, John Agar, Harry Carey Jr and Arthur Shields.
The period is the Indian Wars that followed from the massacre of General Custer and Ford filmed it mostly in his beloved Monument Valley. It is largely devoid of the sentimentality of "Rio Grande" though it is never as dark nor as serious as "Fort Apache", (it straddles the middle-ground magnificently; even the comic fight scene doesn't sit uncomfortably), and while Ford may make the Indians the villains of the piece he nevertheless bestows on them a kind of dignity and some degree of respect. Ford's sentimentality isn't necessarily for the cavalry but for the passing of the 'old' West and the loss of Native American culture
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