5.6/10
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21 user 6 critic

Grayeagle (1977)

In this variant of The Searchers (1956), a tough frontier trapper tracks the young Cheyenne warrior who kidnapped his daughter.

Director:

Charles B. Pierce

Writers:

Brad White (story), Michael O. Sajbel (story) (as Mike Sajbel) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Johnson ... John Colter
Iron Eyes Cody ... Standing Bear
Lana Wood ... Beth Colter
Jack Elam ... Trapper Willis
Paul Fix ... Running Wolf
Alex Cord ... Grayeagle
Jacob Daniels Jacob Daniels ... Scar
Jimmy Clem ... Abe Stroud
Cindy Butler ... Ida Coulter
Charles B. Pierce ... Bugler
Blackie Wetzell Blackie Wetzell ... Medicine Man
Cheyenne Rivera Cheyenne Rivera ... Shoshone Brave
Wayne Wells Wayne Wells ... Shoshone Brave
Bill Lafromboise Bill Lafromboise ... Indian at Fort
Don Wright Don Wright ... Indian at Fort
Edit

Storyline

Set in 1848 Montana Territory, a young Cheyenne warrior, who goes by the name Grayeagle, kidnaps the daughter of a grizzled frontier man John Colter who goes on an epic search for his daughter Beth, and is aided by a friendly native, named Standing Bear, as well as Trapper Willis, a fur trapper and trader whom brave the elements of nature as well as hostile native warriors to find Beth and bring her home. At the same time, Beth becomes intrigued by her own captor who has reason for his taking of Beth. Written by Larry B.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Another Screen Triumph from the Creator of "Winterhawk" See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grauadler See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color | Color (Movielab)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

On the 2016 High Definition restoration (available only on Region-A Blu-ray in North America), during the opening monologue, the voice is slightly out of sync with the video compared to previous "unrestored" Standard Definition versions still available on streaming services like Netflix. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK theatrical version was a heavily shortened version that ran only 60 minutes, including cuts for a 'U' rating, as a B-feature. The Guild video release was uncut, upgraded to a 'PG' rating. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining over-the-top Western from 1977
18 December 2014 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

RELEASED IN 1977, "Grayeagle" is a Western about a settler in the 1848 Montana region (Ben Johnson) whose daughter (Lana Wood) is kidnapped by a Cheyenne brave (Alex Cord). He teams-up with his Native partner (Iron Eyes Cody) and a friend (Jack Elam) to get his daughter back. Along the way they must tangle with a Shoshone hunting party, including a crazy brave named Scar (Jacob Daniels).

While the plot is reminiscent of 1956's "The Searchers," it's different enough to not be a rip-off. "Grayeagle" may be far from a big-budget Western, like "The Searchers," but I like it better. It genuinely surprised me for a number of reasons. For one, it's not a typical Western; it's just as much a Native American film as it is a cowboy/settler Western; and the Natives are portrayed quite well, considering the time period.

Secondly, everything about the movie is over-the-top, like the acting, the (melo)drama and the blaring score. Speaking of the score, it plays like the bombastic music of the original Star Trek TV series, but updated to the mid-70s and fitted for a Western. It's quite good, sometimes even moving, albeit decidedly dated.

The plot similarities to "The Searchers" is interesting in that Lana Wood's sister, Natalie, played the kidnapped girl in that film. Speaking of Lana, she's just gorgeous. You might remember her as Bond girl Plenty O'Toole in 1971's "Diamonds are Forever."

The annoying, half-crazy character Bugler was played by the director, Charles B. Pierce, who made the similar "Winterhawk" (1975). You might remember Iron Eyes Cody (aka Standing Bear) as the American Indian shedding a tear about litter in one of the America's most famous television public service announcements, "Keep America Beautiful," from the early 70s. While Cody certainly looked Native American and claimed his father was Cherokee (and his mother Cree), he offered conflicting data on his heritage. Evidence shows that he was a 2nd generation Italian-American based on an interview with his half-sister and documents, which included a baptismal record. But Cody denied the claim. He was likely part Native, but who knows?

Shot in the Helena National Forest Northeast of Helena, Montana, the landscapes are picturesque. "Grayeagle" is full of gusto and reminiscent of the later "The Mountain Men" (1980). It must be respected because the creators gave it their all to entertain the viewer; in fact, I include it on my hallowed "Favorite Westerns" list, perhaps as more of a guilty pleasure since the flick is so overdone that it sometimes borders on ridiculous. So I can see why some people don't like it. While it's often supremely entertaining, the sacred words are fitting: "Just because you like a movie doesn't mean it's good."

THE FILM RUNS 104 minutes.

GRADE: B/B- (6.5/10)


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