A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
Set during the Pacific War against the Japanese, this WW2 drama discerns between achieving one's mission at any cost versus preserving the lives under one's command and enforcing discipline through fear as opposed to mutual respect.
O'Rourke and his Cree half brother Cajou are returning from a northern Canadian trapping trip when they encounter a burned wagon train and sole survivor Grace. Naive Mountie commander Benton believes it to be a Cree attack. The Sioux from across the border are trying to force the Cree into being allies in their struggle with the U.S. 7th Cavalry. O'Rourke must mutiny to save the men. He must also aid Grace, in whom Marshal Smith has both official and unprovoked amorous interests.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Canadian Big Band leader Moxie Whitney and his musicians were extras many times in this movie. They played the bad guys, the good guys as well as mounties. See more »
When Batouche spots the Cree and Sioux following, he sees them by looking down from a high point. However, when O'Rourke looks at them through the binoculars he sees them from front on, at ground level. See more »
Saskatchewan is directed by Raoul Walsh and written by Gil Doud. It stars Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, J. Carrol Naish, Hugh O'Brian, Jay Silverheels, George Lewis and Robert Douglas. Music is by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography in Technicolor is by John F. Seitz.
Saskatchewan River Country, Spring 1877, and Mountie Sergeant O'Rourke (Ladd), who was reared by the Cree Indians, sets about trying to prevent the Cree from joining forces with the Sioux who have crossed the border into Canada after massacring General Custer at Little Bighorn.
Competent story with muscular direction for the action sequences, Saskatchewan is undoubtedly reliant on the beautiful visuals to keep the viewer enthralled. Plot is one of those that telegraphs the outcome right from the off, thus any genuine suspense is hard to garner, while the characterisations are drawn as standard.
Male cast members are mostly fine, with Ladd always watchable when doing stoicism, but Winters, in a character desperately trying not to be a token, is sadly miscast. However, the action is of high standard, with lots of extras and horses whizzing about to create excitement, and the photography in and around Banff National Park in Alberta is sublime.
Whether it's the wonderful mountains, the angled trees or the shimmering river (the latter providing a truly breath taking reflection at one point), Seitz's (The Lost Weekend/Sunset Boulevard) work for this film is reason enough to seek it out. 6/10
The Pegasus Region 2 DVD release is presented in 4:3 full frame and the picture quality is good to fair, if a little grainy for the very light scenes.
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