6.8/10
4,796
60 user 20 critic

Cheyenne Autumn (1964)

Trailer
4:34 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
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:

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

Genres:

Drama | History | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish certificate #71202 delivered on 12-2-1965. See more »

Goofs

Where did the buried guns the Indians uncover come from. They were brought by the cavalry. Guarded by the cavalry. Nothing in the story explains where the came from. See more »

Quotes

Wyatt Earp: Say, you're the doctor around here. How come I always have to perform all the complicated operations?
Doc Holliday: You know I'm a dentist, not a doctor. Wait 'til somebody shoots him in the teeth.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original premiere, in Cinerama, ran a full 170 minutes. The film was cut by fifteen minutes following this premiere. The missing 15 minutes is presumed lost forever (check your attics). The only version now available is a VHS that runs around 155 minutes. See more »

Connections

Features She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

The Yellow Rose of Texas
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the banjo during the saloon
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Cheyenne is a soldier from the first slap on his bottom.

Cheyenne Autumn is directed by John Ford and is a "Hollywood" telling of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1877/9, where the Northern Cheyenne, fed up with lack of food and poor facilities, tried to return to their one time home in the North after having been located in the Southern Reservation by the United States Army. It stars Richard Widmark, Caroll Baker, Dolores del Rio, Karl Malden, Gilbert Roland, Ricardo Montalban, Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy. Music is scored by Alex North and cinematography by William H. Clothier. It is photographed in Super Panavision 70, in various Utah locations, predominantly Monument Valley.

Does it ever matter who fired the first shot?

John "Pappy" Ford's penultimate film, and his last Western, is epic in scope and production and seen as an honest attempt to redress the balance for years of misrepresentation of Native Americans in Hollywood, though not necessarily his own since he, I believe, isn't on record as saying that to be the case? Thematically it's important and doesn't back off from being sympathetic to the Cheyenne's plight, we root for them and rightly so. Yet it always feels like a film shot through the vision of a white man's eyes, you find yourself wanting more from the Cheyenne perspective, for them to dominate the narrative. It would have been nice to know some of the big players involved in the heroic and tragic trek back to Wyoming. It's also annoying that Ford or the studio chose to interrupt the flow of the story with the pointless light relief section at Dodge City. Which comes across as just an excuse for James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy to play Wyatt Earp & Doc Holliday respectively. And sadly, they are not very successful in doing so either.

As has been noted by many critics over the years, the film ultimately rounds out as an honourable misfire from the great John Ford. The cast, away from the loud and brash Dodge City collective, are mostly fine. Widmark proves to be a watchable axis as the reluctant Captain tasked with returning the Cheyenne to the barren reservation. Baker does a nice line in sexy Quaker, Robinson adds a touch of class late in the day, while Montalban & Roland are excellent as Cheyenne chiefs Little Wolf & Dull Knife respectively. But all pale in the shadow of Clothier's magnificent photography, stunning vistas that dominate the screen, the colours so rich and splendid, Monument Valley an iconic character of nature observing the Cheyenne desperately trying to get back to home comforts.

It's unmistakably a John Ford picture, with some inspired filming techniques, but the heart of the story is lost due to a too long run time, a daft mid point sequence and much extraneous nonsense. 6/10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Long Flight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ford-Smith Productions See more »
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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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