When the government agency fails to deliver even the meager supplies due by treaty to the proud Cheyenne tribe in their barren desert reserve, the starving Indians have taken more abuse than it's worth and break it too by embarking on a 1,500 miles journey back to their ancestral hunting grounds. US Cavalry Capt. Thomas Archer is charged with their retrieval, but during the hunt grows to respect their noble courage, and decides to help them.Written by
According to both John Ford and James Stewart, Ford added the segment with Stewart in place of an intermission. He didn't want people leaving the auditorium to go the bathroom or concessions counter, even though the film was long, and so he came up with the Wyatt Earp segment. He later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies. See more »
There are no mountains in Nebraska. During the Fort Robinson sequence, mountains are visible, whereas Nebraska has no mountains. See more »
Capt. Thomas Archer:
Dull Knife! Little Wolf! What happened today changes nothing. The Indian Bureau is still pledged to provide you with adequate clothing and rations. And you're still pledged to abide by the law. Remember that!
We are asked to remember much. The white man remembers nothing.
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Many television prints run 145 minutes, and omit the scene with James Stewart as Wyatt Earp. The video release is the full 154-minute version. See more »
The Yellow Rose of Texas
Played on the banjo during the saloon See more »
Starts as compelling drama but turns into bad farce and never recovers
The Cheyenne nation has been gathered on their desert reservation waiting for supplies. The people are starving. Captain Thomas Archer (Richard Widmark) is sympathetic but powerless in the face of government indifference. Deborah Wright (Carroll Baker) is a Quaker trying to help the Cheyenne. Chiefs Little Wolf (Ricardo Montalban) and Dull Knife (Gilbert Roland) lead over 300 Cheyenne from their reservation in the Oklahoma territory to their traditional home in Wyoming. Archer is forced to stop them. The media exaggerate army casualties. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz (Edward G. Robinson) resists political pressure to increase the conflict.
This starts off well with the vast landscape and compelling story of the Cheyenne mistreatment. Director John Ford is able to give dignity to the movie. Even with the mostly Latinos portraying Cheyennes, it isn't that badly done. There is some good action. It's set up for a serious compelling western. It is a somewhat long march. It's meandering and struggles to keep up the pace. Then it takes a bad comedy detour in Dodge City. Other than having James Stewart play Wyatt Earp, there is nothing worthwhile in that section. The tone is all wrong and breaks down the realism of the movie once and for all.
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