Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the hostess of the Henhouse dance hall.
In 1836, General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army is sweeping across Texas. To be able to stop him, General Sam Houston needs time to get his main force into shape. To buy that time he orders Colonel William Travis to defend a small mission on the Mexicans' route at all costs. Travis' small troop is swelled by groups accompanying Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, but as the situation becomes ever more desperate Travis makes it clear there will be no shame if they leave while they can.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Travis was considered to be a "dandy" because of his Alabama upbringing. He only accepted a commission of Lieutenant Colonel to escape going to debtors prison after abandoning his wife and child back in Alabama. See more »
In the battle Santa Ana wears a Shako helmet. That is the hat all of his foot soldiers wore, not him. See more »
Gen. Sam Houston:
Mr. Travis, are you going to complain to me about Jim Bowie?
Colonel William Barret Travis:
Not complain, sir.
Gen. Sam Houston:
Of course Jim Bowie's drunk. He took this town from General Cos. He fought a battle and now he's drunk. Seems kinda natural to me. Or are you questioning something other than Bowie's drinking? Are you going to tell me that he's got a lot of acreage down here? That he married into Mexican aristocracy?
Colonel William Barret Travis:
Gen. Sam Houston:
Travis, I would trust Jim Bowie with my life. More than that I would trust him with the lives of my family, ...
[...] See more »
After its LA premiere the film was cut by approximately 26 minutes. It wasn't until 1992 that these scenes were restored for release on LaserDisc and VHS. As of April 2007 all DVD releases feature the shorter general release version. The following scenes were added back:
The original overture, intermission, theatrical trailer, and end themes;
The "Jefferson Speech" extended between Col. Travis & Cap. Dickinson;
The death of Emil Sand;
Conversation between Col. Travis & Col. Bowie regarding Col. Fannin;
The death of the Parson and Scotty;
Crockett's prayer following Parson's & Scotty's death;
The "Philosophical Debate" when the Alamo defenders talk about God;
Viewed as history, John Wayne's epic production of 'The Alamo' is as full of holes as Swiss Cheese (the final battle actually lasted less than an hour, in the pre-dawn darkness of March 6, 1836; current scholarly consensus is that the historical Crockett attempted to surrender, at the end of the furious onslaught, but was executed), but just as Wayne mentor John Ford never let 'the facts' interfere with a good story, first-time director Wayne wanted to tell a tale of larger-than-life heroes, taking a stand for what was right, and being willing to die for that cause. It was a firm belief in these truths that pushed Wayne into investing over ten years of his life, and much of his personal fortune, in telling this story, and 'The Alamo' was, and is, a triumph.
The film can really be broken into two distinct parts; the first part introduces the characters, providing insights into their personalities, and tells a melodramatic tale of a beautiful woman (the radiant Linda Cristal), being forced into an unwilling relationship with an evil, profiteering Texan, who is rescued by the plain-spoken and heroic Davy Crockett, as portrayed by Wayne. The story bears similarities to 'The Fighting Kentuckian', a Wayne vehicle of twelve years earlier. In this version, however, Wayne doesn't 'win' the girl, but gives her a rather preachy speech about patriotism, and doing what's right, and sends her on her way.
Despite a terrific fight scene between a bunch of the Texan's henchmen, and Crockett and Jim Bowie (portrayed with easy charm by Richard Widmark), this first part drags, a bit, and seems contrived to allow Wayne to air his political beliefs. Bear with it, though, because when the action moves to the mission/fortress of the Alamo, for the second half of the film, Wayne's talents as a director truly shine.
The story of the 13-day siege between the Alamo's 187 defenders, and General Santa Anna's 6,000-man army, has NEVER been told on a grander scale than in the John Wayne version, and the uncut edition of the film is presented in a wide-screen format, which allows the viewer to really share Wayne's vision. With a nod to the fact that the Mexico of today is a staunch ally (several characters make a point of saying how 'proud' they are of the Mexicans, even as the two forces are killing each other!), the story flows between exciting 'victories' (stealing the cattle, spiking the Mexican cannons), and an understanding of the inevitable conclusion (defined by Lawrence Harvey, as Travis, in the memorable 'sword in the sand' scene). Harvey's Travis is the best-realized of the film's many characters; he brings a humanity to the complex, driven commander, growing from someone insensitive to others, into a leader who earns everyone's respect.
Wayne used thousands of Mexicans as extras in the film, which gives the viewer a far greater sense of the magnitude of the siege than Republic's 'The Last Command' or Disney's 'Davy Crockett' ever could. The battles, particularly the final one, as row after row of Mexican foot-soldiers overrun the pockets of defenders, are unforgettable! Each character is allowed to die heroically, and is given a lingering moment to make a final gesture (Travis breaks his sword over his knee as Mexicans surge past, Bowie fires his unique gun, a brace of pistols, and swings his famous knife, Crockett, bayoneted to a door, still manages to pull free, and torch the magazine). The film's climax, alone, would make the film a 'must' for any action fan.
The cast includes many well-known character actors and long-time Wayne friends, including Ken Curtis as Lt. Dickinson, Travis's adjutant; Chill Wills as the most outspoken of Crockett's men; Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Denver Pyle, Chuck Roberson, and many others, as defenders. Wayne's son, Patrick, has a small but visible role as James Butler Bonham, the famous Alamo dispatch rider, and his daughter Aissa plays the Dickinson's child, Angelina.
'The Alamo', for all it's faults, is a magnificent spectacle, monumental in scope. It is a fitting tribute to it's star/director, and an ESSENTIAL part of any John Wayne collection!
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