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Cheyenne Autumn (1964)

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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.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 ... Major Jeff Blair
Victor Jory ... Tall Tree
Mike Mazurki ... Senior First Sergeant
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

LAND-GRABBING DOLLAR PATRIOTS! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The striped neckerchiefs shown are historically correct. Cavalry colors are yellow, artillery are red, infantry are light blue, medical corps are burgundy. See more »

Goofs

The Navajos travel 1500 miles but never seem to leave Monument Valley, except for some snow scenes. See more »

Quotes

Dr. O'Carberry: Listen to me, Miss Wright. You're a Quaker and you're dedicated to self-sacrifice. Well, I'm dedicated to self-preservation. You know, you want me to go out there, don't you? Yeah, and take me future, me career and me pension... and throw it down the drain. Is that what you want, huh? Yeah, well... that's exactly what I'm going to do.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Film socialisme (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, Dem Golden Slippers
(uncredited)
Written by James Allen Bland
Played on the banjo during the saloon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent last film by the great John Ford with epic battles , intense drama and spectacular scenes
8 July 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Historical and overlong movie recounting the legendary Cheyenne trek led by the Indian chiefs , Little Wolf and Dull Knife . The picture is an epic portrait of the historic story about celebrated Cheyenne (they are actually Navajo, telling dirty jokes in their native tongue) and their legendary feat leading the tribe on a journey to freedom , uprooting them from the Yellowstone and resettling them in distant Oklahoma . This majestic flick illustrates the callous disregard with which the government treated the Cheyenne in the 1880s as the US agency fails to deliver even the meager provisions due by peace treaty to the stubborn tribe in their stark desert reserve without proper supplies for survival ; then the starving Indians have taken more abuse than it's worth and break it too by embarking on a 1,500 miles trek back to their ancestral hunting grounds , being led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife (Ford was urged to cast Richard Boone and Anthony Quinn , as both had Native American blood ; Ricardo Montalban and Gilbert Roland, who were of Mexican descent, were cast instead) . Meanwhile , proud Cheyenne tribe square off US cavalry commanded by Thomas Archer (Richard Widmark) who leads his army on a wild chase across the barren plains in this saga of the old west . Red Shirt (Sal Mineo , John Ford would not allow Sal to speak any English dialog in the movie due to the actor's Bronx accent) , a rebel Indian does the first shot against cavalry . Captain Thomas Archer goes to deal with Secretary of Interior Schulz about the unfortunate Indians (Spencer Tracy was first cast as the secretary of interior Karl Shultz, but had a heart attack and was replaced by Edward G. Robinson, whose scenes were entirely photographed in studios, including the climatic meeting scene between Shultz and the Cheyenne chiefs, in which the background had to be done with screen process). The tribe refuses to surrender in this chronicle of a bitter fight between the tribe and the US cavalry in the struggle for the west.

This sprawling epic film displays action Western , shootouts , drama and spectacular battles . It's a thoughtful piece for its time that had an original tragic ending and imbued with moments of sensitive poetry . This nice Western contains interesting characters , full of wide open space and dramatic moments . This classic , sturdy picture ranks as one of the most sentimental of John Ford's work .Thought-provoking , enjoyable screenplay portraying in depth characters and brooding events with interesting issues running beneath script surface and suggested by Mari Sandoz in "Cheyenne Autumn¨ with screenplay by James R. Webb and based on a novel titled Last Frontier by Howard Fast who also wrote Spartacus . This excellent film featuring a magnificent performance by whole casting , including a top-notch support cast . Awesome Richard Widmark in a larger-than-life character along with a gorgeous Carrol Baker and a magnificent Karl Malden as deranged captain Wessels . In the film appears , as usual , Ford's favourite actors as Ben Johnson , Harry Carey Jr , Mike Mazurki , George O'Brien , Mae Marsh , Patrick Wayne , Dolores Del Rio , Ken Curtis , Elizabeh Allen , Willis Bouchey , and of course James Stewart as obstinate sheriff Earp . 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 ; Ford later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies . Outdoors are pretty good and well photographed in Super Panavision 70mm by William H Clothier and filmed on location in Moab, Utah,Fort Laramie, Wyoming, Monument Valley, Utah , Gunnison Canyon, Colorado . Rousing and an impressive musical score by Alex North who composed other masterpieces as Spartacus and Cleopatra.

This may not be Ford's best Western , as many would claim , but it's still head ad shoulders above most big-scale movies .You'll find the ending over-dramatic according to your tastes , though it's lovingly composed by John Ford who really picks up battle , drama and sensibility towards the ending . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile watching . The motion picture well produced by Bernard Smith was brilliantly directed by John Ford at his last film . This powerful movie will appeal to Indian Western fans


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