7.0/10
2,611
35 user 15 critic

The Last Wagon (1956)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Western | 21 September 1956 (USA)
Wagon train survivors of an Apache attack entrust the sheriff's prisoner, scout Comanche Todd, with their lives despite his wanted-for-murder status.

Director:

Delmer Daves

Writers:

James Edward Grant (screenplay), Delmer Daves (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... Comanche Todd
Felicia Farr ... Jenny
Susan Kohner ... Jolie Normand
Tommy Rettig ... Billy
Stephanie Griffin ... Valinda Normand
Ray Stricklyn ... Clint
Nick Adams ... Ridge
Carl Benton Reid ... Gen. Howard
Douglas Kennedy ... Col. Normand
George Mathews ... Sheriff Bull Harper
James Drury ... Lt. Kelly
Ken Clark ... Sergeant
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Storyline

Accused of murdering three of Sheriff Bull Harper's brothers, the Comanche-reared white man, "Comanche" Todd, is captured and dragged to trial. Cautiously, as the two men ride across hostile Apache territory, they will join Colonel Normand's wagon train of women and children, only to be ambushed and massacred by the Indians whose families were slaughtered by the whites. Now, the few survivors have no other choice but to trust their dubious protector, Todd, as hundreds of vengeful Apaches track them down, thirsting for blood. Can they make it out alive? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ROMANTIC WESTERN ADVENTURE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Wagon See more »

Filming Locations:

Bell Rock, Sedona, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,670,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~6.7 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~6.1 seconds. Both values are fast for a reasonably early CinemaScope film. See more »

Goofs

Just before The End title comes up, you can see the shadow of the camera crew as Todd rides off. See more »

Quotes

Sheriff Bull Harper: On foot through Apache country without no gun.
Cole Harper: Yeah.
Sheriff Bull Harper: This is his third day without food or water. I'm going to tell one and all that Commanche Todd was the bravest man I ever hung.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1873 Arizona Territory See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 2 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
He'll be safe. The first time he don't look safe, he'll get dead.
8 May 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

We open with a pursuit of a man across Canyon Of Death {Oak Creek Canyon}, the man being pursued is Comanche Todd. Todd is a white man with Comanche blood coursing thru his veins, he's also a wanted man, wanted for the murder of three men. After his capture by Sheriff Bull Harper, Todd and his captor run into a wagon train of Christian settlers who suffer an attack by the Apache. Severely depleted and ill equipped to deal with the terrain and threat of further attacks, the remaining settlers must put their trust in Todd to hopefully steer them all to safety.

The Last Wagon is one in a long line of Westerns that feature a similar plot, but this Delmer Daves {Dark Passage & 3:10 to Yuma} picture is a touch above many of the others due to having a few things in its favour. Primarily the picture's major draw card is the performance of Richard Widmark as Todd. In what could have been a by the numbers character, Widmark fills the role out with a sort of resentful angst. Resentful and angry angst that is coated with delicate flecks of romanticism! With the romantic plot strand here being no hindrance at all. In fact the romance here with Felicia Farr's {delightful performance} Jenny is sexy and mixes well with the dramatic core of The Last Wagon's being. As a character study of a group of people under duress, Daves and his co writer, James Edward Grant, have excelled and broken away from maudlin tendencies so rife in films of this ilk. Virtues and vices come under the microscope, as does the art of being humanitarian, regardless of circumstance and being armed with basic facts or foolishly acting on hearsay.

Also containing some beautiful location work at the afore mentioned Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona {filmed in Cinemascope and Technicolor}, it's most certainly looking like a film that has apparently been forgotten outside of the Widmark and Western purists. And that's a damn shame, because although the ending doesn't quite sit right with all that has gone before it, it's a fine Western picture just begging to be discovered by any prospective newcomers to an often derided genre. 8/10


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