102 user 63 critic

Rio Grande (1950)

Passed | | Romance, Western | 15 November 1950 (USA)
1:56 | Trailer
A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande is confronted with murderous raiding Apaches, a son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.


John Ford


James Kevin McGuinness (screenplay), James Warner Bellah (Saturday Evening Post story)
3,834 ( 1,340)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke
Maureen O'Hara ... Mrs. Kathleen Yorke
Ben Johnson ... Trooper Travis Tyree
Claude Jarman Jr. ... Trooper Jefferson 'Jeff' Yorke
Harry Carey Jr. ... Trooper Daniel 'Sandy' Boone
Chill Wills ... Dr. Wilkins (regimental surgeon)
J. Carrol Naish ... Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan
Victor McLaglen ... Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon
Grant Withers ... U.S. Deputy Marshal
Sons of the Pioneers ... Regimental Musicians (as Sons Of The Pioneers)
Peter Ortiz Peter Ortiz ... Capt. St. Jacques
Steve Pendleton ... Capt. Prescott
Karolyn Grimes ... Margaret Mary
Alberto Morin ... Lieutenant
Stan Jones Stan Jones ... Sergeant


Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is in charge of training of new recruits one of which is his son whom he hasn't seen in 15 years. He whips him into shape to take on the Apaches but not before his mother shows up to take him out of there.The decision to leave is left up to Trooper Yorke who decides to stay and fight. Through it all Kirby and Kathleen though separated for years fall back into love and decide that it's time to give it another try. But Yorke faces his toughest battle when his unorthodox plan to outwit the elusive Apaches leads to possible court-martial. Locked in a bloody Indian war, he must fight to redeem his honor and save the love and lives of his broken family. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <cryan@direct.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


John Ford's Most Powerful Drama. The Breathtaking Saga of the United States Cavalry! See more »


Romance | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Towards the beginning of the movie, when they are at the fort identifying the different "bands" of the dead Apaches lined up on the ground, several of them can be seen still breathing. See more »


Gen. Philip Sheridan: I'm going to issue you an order and give it to you personally. I want you to cross the Rio Grande, hit the Apache and burn him out. I'm tired of hit-and-run. I'm sick of diplomatic hide-and-seek.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in John Ford et Monument Valley (2013) See more »


Footsore Cavalry
Words and Music Stan Jones
Performed by the Sons of the Pioneers (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Another fine cavalry film from John Ford and company...
6 November 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

For some reason, over the years I failed to see this particular John Ford western, thinking it was probably just another cavalry yarn and I'd seen so many of them I figured I'd let this one pass.

Wrong. It's now among my favorite John Ford westerns with both JOHN WAYNE and MAUREEN O'HARA giving really heartfelt performances as a husband and wife separated for some time, their only son (CLAUDE JARMAN, JR.) having just joined the regiment as a soldier under his father's command at an outpost being menaced by Apaches.

There's a jaunty, rollicking score by Victor Young that captures ballads of the Old West to provide some colorful background music, wonderful scenes of soldiers training under VICTOR McLAGLEN (at his crustiest and endearingly funny), BEN JOHNSON (wonderful as a man on the lam), and the breezily confident HARRY CAREY, JR. It's even got a story that has more than one theme running through it--the personal conflict between father and son, husband and wife, and how the young son (played extremely well by Claude Jarman, Jr.) has to prove himself to his fellow soldiers.

The final shootout occurs when the Apaches kidnap some children and hold them prisoners in a church. It sets the stage for the final encounter, just one of several skirmishes with the Indians that is masterfully staged and photographed.

Pictorially, it's one of the handsomest of all the John Ford epics and should definitely have been filmed in Technicolor, although the B&W photography is indeed impressive. MAUREEN O'HARA gives one of her most sensitive portrayals and JOHN WAYNE is at his best.

Summing up: A solid western well worth watching whether you're a John Ford fan or not.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

15 November 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Ford and Merian C. Cooper's Rio Grande See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,214,899 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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