A Union army outfit of misfits and rejects is sent to the Western territory. Southern spies try to figure out what they're up to.


George Marshall


Samuel A. Peeples (screen play), William Bowers (screen play) | 2 more credits »





Cast overview:
Glenn Ford ... Capt. Jared Heath
Stella Stevens ... Martha Lou Williams
Melvyn Douglas ... Col. Claude Brackenbury
Jim Backus ... Gen. Willoughby
Joan Blondell ... Easy Jenny
Andrew Prine ... Pvt. Owen Selous
Jesse Pearson ... Cpl. Silas Geary
Alan Hale Jr. ... Sgt. Beauregard Davis (as Alan Hale)
James Griffith ... Hugo Zattig
Whit Bissell ... Capt. Queeg
Michael Pate ... Thin Elk


In 1862, during the American Civil War, a company of Union infantrymen, commanded by Colonel Claude Brackenbury, receives an order to attack the Confederate positions. Due to a mishap, the colonel's horse stampedes toward the rear of the front. The confused soldiers, deployed in assault formation, follow their colonel in a rush. This is seen by the consequent Board of Inquiry as plain cowardice in the face of the enemy. As a result, Colonel Brackenbury is demoted to the rank of Captain and his executive officer, Captain Jared Heath, is demoted to the rank of Lieutenant. As further punishment, Brackenbury and Heath, together with a few of their NCOs are transferred West, to Fort Hooker where they are to take charge of a company of misfits and rejects. The new company is designated as Company Q. On the way West, the demoted officers travel on a river-boat. Among the passengers there are several prostitutes, led by Madam Easy Jenny, who are being run out of town by the decent townsfolk. ... Written by nufs68

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There's no question about it...some fronts are better than others! See more »


Comedy | War | Western


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Did You Know?


Neither side in the Civil War had regiments with companies designated as "Q". Screw-up outfits and misfits were, however called Company Q. See more »


From an opening title card, the film begins in the spring of 1862. Right after the inquest, Gen. Willoughby quotes Gen. Sherman as saying "war is hell". That did not occur until September of 1864. See more »


Heath: Well, I've been out on patrol, sir. And, as a matter of fact, we brought you back some prisoners.
Col. Claude Brackenbury: Prisoners?
Heath: Yes sir.
Col. Claude Brackenbury: Who told you to go out after prisoners?
Heath: Well, nobody told me, sir.
Col. Claude Brackenbury: Well... well... Take 'em back.
Heath: Take 'em back?
Col. Claude Brackenbury: You heard me. Take 'em back.
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This Ol' Riverboat
Written by Randy Sparks (uncredited)
Performed by The New Christy Minstrels
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User Reviews

Precursor to F Troop?
24 September 2007 | by kymdiamondSee all my reviews

This is one heckuva fun film. Although a pretty descriptive writeup has already been given, I gotta tip the proverbial hat to what seems to be the inspiration for the F-TROOP television series that debuted the following year. And, the use of balladeers, THE NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS, to help set scenes for the film hearkens unto many a great "tried and true" stories of the period...including the legendary CAT BALLOU with Stubby Kaye & Nat King Cole as the Balladeers in question.

I am going to have to track this down and plant it near THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL (another good comedy set in the same time period) on my viewing shelf.

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Release Date:

1964 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Advance to the Rear See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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