In 1872, Indian fighter Johnny MacKay is appointed peace commissioner for the California and Oregon territory but he faces tough opposition from the renegade Modocs led by their brutal chief Captain Jack.
When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.
President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle. After Modoc renegade Captain Jack engages in ambush and other atrocities, MacKay must fight him one-on-one with guns, knives and fists.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
General Edward Canby, whose death is depicted in this movie, was in reality the only U.S. army general killed during the American Indian Wars. "General" G. A. Custer, killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, was not in fact a general at the time of his death. After the Civil War, he held the permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel. See more »
This movie was based on the 1869 Modoc Indian uprising in northern California, yet they show 44-40 lever action Winchester rifles, which were not introduced until 1873. See more »
We want to stop this purposless killing. Any war that doesn't bring about a peace with honor is futile.
Well, peace with honor and peace with Captain Jack are apt to be jackasses of two mighty different colors.
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A fairly scenic Western which boasts that it is based on true events, and announces in the beginning that it does take literary license to make it more entertaining, so there's no beef about that.
Ladd plays Indian fighter Johnny, who has a hate-like-hate relationship with Captain Jack, played by Charles Bronson, and is on a first name basis with the leading thugs that accompany Captain Jack.
Captain Jack is a Modoc Native American, but he is not a real captain. He steals medals from officers he kills. The real leaders of the Modoc don't trust him, and think little of him. Same for his main cohorts.
He makes a name for himself in villainy, and President Grant tries to quell his killing peacefully. He sees the importance of keeping peace with the good Modoc people who would make good neighbors.
As with any Delmer Daves directed movie, we know his high handed American Nazi ideology will prevail, and he will force the issue to kill at least one beautiful brunette woman. One must wonder if Daves was once jilted and humiliated by a brown eyed brunette, in order to make him continually do this.
It is just one of the "forced" looking events that take place in this movie. More "forced" is the direction, in which Daves seems to want to display certain lines and characteristics in very unnatural looking sequences of events. It looks like Daves had in mind to make sure certain lines were spoken, and certain images taken. It almost looks like a movie made by a story book artist.
Daves is a bit more subdued in this movie than in most movies, however, and it probably is the best of his works, which isn't saying much.
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