The Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.


John Ford


Mari Sandoz (suggested by "Cheyenne Autumn"), James R. Webb (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Widmark ... Capt. Thomas Archer
Carroll Baker ... Deborah Wright
Karl Malden ... Capt. Wessels
Sal Mineo ... Red Shirt
Dolores del Rio ... Spanish Woman (as Dolores Del Rio)
Ricardo Montalban ... Little Wolf
Gilbert Roland ... Dull Knife
Arthur Kennedy ... Doc Holliday
James Stewart ... Wyatt Earp
Edward G. Robinson ... Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz
Patrick Wayne ... 2nd Lt. Scott
Elizabeth Allen ... Guinevere Plantagenet
John Carradine ... Maj. Jeff Blair
Victor Jory ... Tall Tree
Mike Mazurki ... Senior First Sergeant


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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Now the mightiest true adventure of all! Filmed by 6-time Academy Award winner John Ford...with a massive all-star cast! See more »


Drama | History | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ken Curtis was not a resident of Dodge City, but a cattle drover up from Texas. See more »


The lanterns held by army guards outside the warehouse where the Indians were being kept after surrendering were "Coleman" lanterns, first produced in 1914. See more »


Doc Holliday: Forgive me, mademoiselle.
Miss Plantagenet: What the hell kind of talk is that?
Wyatt Earp: Now, as I understand it, a mademoiselle is a madam who ain't quite made it yet - only younger and friskier. I'd call it a compliment.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »


The Yellow Rose of Texas
Played on the banjo during the saloon
See more »

User Reviews

A flawed valedictory.
27 April 2003 | by gregcoutureSee all my reviews

When I saw this during its first release, I was, like most other viewers, thoroughly awed by William Clothier's magnificent handling of the 70mm cameras (although some scenes, unfortunately, had to be completed with quite evident manipulation of actors performing on a soundstage in front of previously photographed exterior shots, and some sets were much-too-obviously studio bound.) The casting of non-Native Americans didn't surprise me then, though I might now reluctantly join the ranks of those who would prefer otherwise. However, then we would miss Victor Jory, Sal Mineo, Gilbert Roland, Ricardo Montalban and the beautiful Dolores del Rio playing their roles with the requisite dignity and professional aplomb. Carroll Baker gives poignancy to her portrayal of a young Quaker woman, true to her convictions, and Richard Widmark and Edward G. Robinson enact Americans with a conscience, none too happy with the assignments required by their government. Karl Malden, as the brutal Capt. Wessels, doesn't beg for our forgiveness, to say the least. But I will agree with those who find the James Stewart sequence a jarring contrast to the presumed thrust of the narrative.

My own take on that is the otherwise surprising absence of John Ford's customary over-reliance on sentimentality in this particular enterprise. At the very least when he made a movie with a setting in the Old West, he usually insisted upon using folk songs, sometimes ad nauseum, as background (and foreground) musical accompaniment, but here the very sophisticated Alex North is credited with the musical score, and its bitter strains are not at all typical of a John Ford production. I do not know if Mr. North was assigned to this project against Mr. Ford's preference, but that noted composer's contribution (He was nominated fourteen times for an Academy Award, though not for this one.) is one of his best and most appropriate accomplishments, to my ears. Except for his uncredited work on "Young Cassidy" and the truly atypical "Seven Women" starring Anne Bancroft which followed this major screen opus, John Ford made a final bow here that may not be his best but which unquestionably bears the mark of a master of the cinema.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 67 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

22 December 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Long Flight See more »


Box Office


$4,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ford-Smith Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed