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The only white survivor of a Crow Indian raid on a wagon train is a young boy. He is rescued by the Sioux, and the Sioux chief raises him as an Indian in very way. Years later, the white men and the Sioux threaten to go to war and the Indian-raised white man is torn between his racial loyalties and his adopted tribe.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
To a large degree calling this film The Savage is quite the misnomer because Charlton Heston as the lead character is anything, but savage. Heston who starts out in the film with his character as a child played by Orley Lindgren is the only survivor of a wagon train massacre by the Crow Indians. A band of Sioux drive off the Crow who are their bitter enemies and take in Heston who is raised by the Sioux and given the Indian name War Bonnet.
That's his last real contact with white people until years later he rescues some cavalry troopers pinned down by the Crows who are his mortal enemies now as well. Lieutenant Peter Hansen brings him to the cavalry fort where he's accepted and even evinces some interest by Hansen's sister Susan Morrow.
But when Heston's own Indian sister Joan Taylor is killed by some other troopers the Sioux call for war and Heston is in the fight.
The Savage is a sincerely made effort at showing the American Indians as three dimensional characters in line with Broken Arrow and Devil's Doorway which came out a couple of years earlier. But the script and plot are totally muddled and with it Heston's character. In the end I'm not sure how or why he was doing what he did.
Heston does well in the part and another crucial role of note is that of Indian hating army captain Richard Rober whose career was cut short when he was killed in an automobile accident. He played a fine selection of villains in his short career and his last film was released five years after he died. Rober probably hid his face in shame in an afterlife when Jet Pilot came out.
In Heston's early years between those two DeMille epics The Greatest Show On Earth and The Ten Commandments his films varied in quality from good to mediocre. The Savage kind of falls between both categories, good intentions with poor execution.
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