A trapper and his two partners work as scouts for a remote army fort where they witness an incompetent colonel's decision to throw his small unprepared garrison against Red Cloud's sizable S... Read allA trapper and his two partners work as scouts for a remote army fort where they witness an incompetent colonel's decision to throw his small unprepared garrison against Red Cloud's sizable Sioux force.A trapper and his two partners work as scouts for a remote army fort where they witness an incompetent colonel's decision to throw his small unprepared garrison against Red Cloud's sizable Sioux force.
Crude and uncivilized backwoods trapper Jed Cooper and his two partners sign up as scouts in a remote Oregon army fort, manned chiefly by untrained rookie soldiers. Jed, flirting with the idea of leading a more settled life, decides he needs a woman to start the process, and selects Corinna Marston, the beautiful young wife of Colonel Marston, commander of the next fort down the line. Marston arrives and announces to commanding officer Captain Riordan that he has lost his fort and most of his men to an Indian attack and that he, as ranking officer, is assuming command. Riordan, a young, but sensible officer, is outraged when he learns that Marston, posted out west for having lost his 1500-man command during a Civil War battle, has ordered the entire fort's complement, totally unprepared for combat and outnumbered, to march out against experienced Indian warriors. —Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
three rugged mountain men take jobs scouting for the army
Ordinarily, Anthony Mann made westerns with 'the big guys' - James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda . . . the A list cowboy stars. But in this B+ film, he tackled something notably different and had quite a bit of success with what turned out to be a truly one of a kind western. The main character, played by Victor Mature, is a trapper/ mountain man, and ordinarily they are romanticized in films - Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson, that sort of thing, where the hero is not in fact a typical mountain man but a clean cut heroic figure who hangs out with real mountain men. Not here. For once, a true mountain man - vulgar, crude, animalistic - is the central figure, and it's something to see, giving Mature one of his better later roles. The real acting chops are provided by Robert Preston, excellent as a self-absorbed Custer type cavalry commander, and James Whitmore, the poor man's Spencer Tracy, as another of those old timers who feel themselves trapped between ever more hostile Indians on the one side and the oncoming force of civilization on the other. Even more impressive is a very young Anne Bancroft as the officer's wife, who is initially repulsed by the very sight of Mature's grisly character, then finds her own veneer of civilization slipping away as she begins to realize, to her own shock, that she's attracted to him. Rarely if ever has a remote frontier fort been so accurately realized on screen, without the romantic allure that John Ford gave such a place in his masterful Fort Apache. The battle sequences are big scale and notably violent, and particularly impressive if you seen them in widescreen format. Good show, and underrated movie, all around.
- Mar 17, 2006
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