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The Charge at Feather River (1953)

Approved | | Western | 11 July 1953 (USA)
In Colorado territory, Miles Archer is asked by the cavalry at Fort Bellows to aid in rescuing two white women abducted by the Cheyenne and to provide security for the railroad construction teams.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writer:

James R. Webb
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Guy Madison ... Miles Archer
Frank Lovejoy ... Sgt. Charlie Baker
Helen Westcott ... Anne McKeever
Vera Miles ... Jennie McKeever
Dick Wesson ... Pvt. Cullen
Onslow Stevens ... Grover Johnson
Steve Brodie ... Pvt. Ryan
Ron Hagerthy ... Johnny McKeever
Fay Roope Fay Roope ... Lt. Col. Kilrain
Neville Brand ... Pvt. Morgan
Henry Kulky Henry Kulky ... Pvt. Smiley
Lane Chandler ... Pvt. Zebulon Poinsett
Fred Carson Fred Carson ... Chief Thunder Hawk
James Brown ... Pvt. Connors
Ralph Brooks Ralph Brooks ... Pvt. Wilhelm
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Storyline

The story involves an overland journey through hostile Cheyenne territory to rescue two white women captured by the Cheyenne. One has turned renegade and is not anxious to be rescued as she is about to be married to Chief Thunder Hawk. Vera Miles dies and the cavalry comes to the rescue in the nick of time by a stream called Feather River. Knives, arrows, spears and tomahawks all come flying at the audience. Frank Lovejoy discourages a rattlesnake with tobacco juice and even gets off a shot into the audience. Written by Tom Kresin <tomk@meaddata.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gallantry Never Equalled! Spectacle Never Before Seen! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 July 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burning Arrow See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,650,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (WarnerPhonic/RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

WILHELM SCREAM: A scream used for the character Pvt. Wilhelm (recorded originally for Distant Drums (1951)) has since been reused in many films, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. See more »

Goofs

When Morgan sets Jennie free, she takes his revolver and then falls from the cliff, taking his revolver with her. In subsequent shots, however, Morgan has a pistol again. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Cullen: Well, sir, when I get drunk I forget what I do and I steal.
Miles Archer: Uh-huh.
Pvt. Cullen: And when I steal, I want to forget what I did so I get drunk.
Miles Archer: I just get drunk
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Wilhelm Screams (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
No brass button soldiers here.
15 January 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Charge at Feather River is directed by Gordon Douglas and written by James R. Webb. It stars Guy Madison, Frank Lovejoy, Helen Westcott, Vera Miles, Dick Wesson, Onslow Stevens, Steve Brodie, Neville Brand and James Brown. Filmed in Natural Vision-3-Dimension and WarnerColor, music is by Max Steiner and cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.

The Guardhouse Brigade.

Wonderful. It's the sort of Western you watched as a kid and it made you fall in love with the genre. It has it all, the standard Cowboys versus Indians action to keep the youngsters amused, and quality characterisations for the knowing adults to acknowledge. Plot would become very familiar over the years, where a bunch of reprobates, here they are the bad boys of the army guardhouse, are trained up and sent on a suicide mission. The mission here is to rescue two white sisters who were captured by the Cheyenne years ago.

The group dynamic positively bubbles with tension as men who fought on opposite sides of the Civil War are tasked with performing as one force. There's also a heated rivalry between two men because of a woman, and naturally there's some loose cannons in the group. Things further pick up when the two ladies are rescued and the group has to try and make it back to the fort with the whole Cheyenne tribe on their tail. The elder sister is grateful to be rescued, the younger one not so much since she has converted to the Cheyenne way and is set to marry Chief Thunder Hawk.

Thus the group dynamic goes up a couple of more notches on the stove as the younger sister does all she can to sabotage the mission, while the elder frets about how society will treat her once her past comes to light, and of course there's an attraction between her and the alpha male. Yet the romantic thread is superbly written, really mature and never cloying. There's some requisite humour that works very well, the action is very well staged by the wily Douglas and Madison makes for a good leader of men. While having Brand and Brodie in support playing ornery dudes is perfect casting.

It's a very satisfying Oater, it's not hard to see why it was a big hit at the box office. Oh for sure the 3-D gimmick would have been a big draw, especially since there's plenty of scenes made for 3-D nirvana in the picture. However, this is strong enough to stand on its own 2-D feet, a throwback to a great decade of Westerns. It also has a Steiner musical score and Marley's super photography around the California locations. Think what would happen if you mixed The Searchers and Major Dundee together, added in some Dirty Dozen like conflicts, and then sprinkled on some seasoning of Audie Murphy like Westerns, and you then get an idea of the type of film on offer here. Recommended to Western buffs. 8/10


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