A trapper and his two partners work as scouts for a remote army fort where they witness an incompetent colonel's decision to throw his small unprepared garrison against Red Cloud's sizable Sioux force.
A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
Lance Poole, an Indian who won a Medal of Honor fighting at Gettysburg, returns to his tribal lands intent on peaceful cattle ranching. But white sheep farmers want his fertile grass range and manage to turn the ostensibly civilized white population against the tribes, with tragic results.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
After an unsuccessful May 1950 press preview, MGM shelved the film. The grim movie was superbly made, but its uncompromising, downbeat story seemed to spell box-office disaster. After the release of the more mainstream Broken Arrow (1950) the following fall, it did get some bottom-of-the-bill bookings in neighborhood grindhouses but did little business and has remained little seen. See more »
I was always one of them fellas that wanted to die with my boots off, in bed, with people standing around crying over me.
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Your one other comment on this film so far (Under the Arch) sums up my feelings entirely. Why this masterpiece of a film is not mentioned in the same historical discussions of great westerns as Stagecoach, The Oxbow Incident, High Noon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, etc. is beyond me. But of course it was made by Anthony Mann and that says it all. Those little known episodes in our nation's history in which greedy white men dispossessed cooperative and non-violent native Americans can never be re-told often enough; such as when Andrew Jackson, despite a Supreme Court decision to the contrary, conspired in the 1820s with the land robbers so as to allow those white men to exploit the state's mineral wealth in the 1820s. The peaceful and civil Cherokees were driven out of their Carolina homelands and into concentration camps. (Hitler had nothing on Andrew Jackson.) From there the Cherokees were driven into Florida and then on to Oklahoma via the "Trail of Tears." And the Devil's Doorway is such a classic tale of land-grabbing, ethnic cleansing, bigotry, and high-handed discriminatory bureaucracy as to make your flesh creep. See it.
PS I recently (2009) saw Anthony Mann's Cimarron (1960, his last Western) for the first time and read all the many reviews of it. Many went into great depth as to Mann and his career, listing and evaluating many of his previous films. Not one of them mentioned this film, perhaps his greatest! So even among Mann aficionados one of his greatest accomplishments has fallen by the wayside and into the memory hole! What can be done about this to bring back such a classic and restore it to its rightful place in film history?
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