6.8/10
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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:

The Long Flight 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

In the scenes in the fort. The soldiers are seen carrying modern Coleman lanterns. See more »

Goofs

There are no mountains in Nebraska. During the Fort Robinson sequence, mountains are visible, whereas Nebraska has no mountains. See more »

Quotes

Little Wolf: You spoke the truth for us. This we will not forget - but there will be no more school.
Deborah Wright: Oh, no! Oh, no, please don't do that to the children!
Little Wolf: The white man's words are lies. It is better that our children not learn them.
Deborah Wright: It is not the words... but who speaks them. Has speaking white men's words made you a liar?
Dull Knife: Our words were learned long ago, when some white men still spoke the truth.
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 »

Connections

Featured in Reel Injun (2009) 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

The greatest John Ford Western?
1 November 2003 | by jandesimpsonSee all my reviews

I rediscovered "Cheyenne Autumn" recently and must confess to finding the temptation to hail it as almost the greatest of the John Ford Westerns irresistable. I say "almost" as I realise that the claim needs a certain amount of caution. When set beside the formal perfection of "The Searchers", "My Darling Clementine" and even "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", "Cheyenne Autumn" has a few weak moments and certainly some longeurs. And yet it has a monumental sweep that somehow outstrips them all. Ford's final Western is an apologia for the white Americans' treatment of the American Indian and his own depiction of them as the bad guys in so much of his previous work. Here the Cheyenne are the victims of White oppression, forced to live far to the south of their natural homeland and desperate to return. Depleted in number mainly through illness and starvation they set out on the long trek north, beset on all sides by alien landscape conditions and the American cavalry in pursuit. These pathetic remnants of a once noble tribe now consist of little more than a group of women and children - very few of the male warriors are left - accompanied by a white Quaker woman who has befriended them. One American cavalry officer (Richard Widmark in one of his best performances) recognises their dilemma and does all he can to summon official awareness of their plight. In a sense this is one of the finest of all road movies, the protagonists forced to face the long journey home across a seemingly endless wilderness. Only through an inner determination are the remnants of the tribe able to make it. It is also one of cinema's most powerful documentations of man's inhumanity to man, not light years away from "Come and See" and Ford's own "The Prisoner of Shark Island". The film is badly flawed by the intrusion of a semi-comic interlude depicting Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday more intent on card play in Dodge City than in what is happening around them. This only serves to slow the pace of a film that is often prone to encompass peripheral detail to the detriment of moving purposefully forward. But who can quibble when the end result encompasses one magnificent image after another in William Clothier's splendid 'scope photography and the only music score - by Alex North - that ever did real justice to a Ford picture. For once we actually get away from those endless medleys of sentimental hymn and folk melodies with an astringency of style that matches the serious content of the film.


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