Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: John Ford
Screenwriters: James McGuinness from James Warner Bellah's novel Mission with No Record
Length: 105 mins.
Released: 1950 B & W

rio grande posterBased on a Saturday Evening Post story, this film is directed by and stars 3 of the actors (Wayne, O'Hara, McLaglen) featured in the popular Oscar-winning The Quiet Man. Originally filmed in Black & White, we viewed a Colorized version. May not have noticed had I not known, but still believe it a bastardization of the great Fordian vision...

This is an Indian War movie. Wayne is the Colonel/leader of an outpost cavalry fort in Apache territory. His son, who flunked out of officer's training at West Point and enlists, ends up at his old man's command. Wayne's estranged wife and mother of the boy comes out to the fort to try and take him home. So there is a tender, family aspect to the story. But plenty of action with some exciting displays of cavalry horsemanship and some vicious Indian fighting. This is a Western which is about the Indians, not as much as, say Searchers or Ulzana's Raid but in the sense that their intimidating presence is always felt. The whites in the fort are tough, but still you sense they are existing there outnumbered and in a state of siege. Three different Indian tribes here have allied to fight the cavalry.

One of Ford's Monument Valley pictures, it, of course, features fine filmmaking with great action sequences and characteristic dramatic wide shots of the West. A few Victorian-era songs are sung, underscoring the family sentiments hoped for back at the fort. Movie evolves into a rather grand, epic, Fordesque scope.

Definitely a Must-See, very quite possibly a Classic.

--Jed

Cast:

  • John Wayne.... Lieutenant Colonel Kirby Yorke
  • Maureen O'Hara .... Mrs. Kathleen Yorke
  • Ben Johnson .... Trooper Travis Tyree
  • Claude Jarman Jr.... Trooper Jeff Yorke
  • Harry Carey Jr. ...Trooper Daniel "Sandy" Boone
  • Chill Wills ... Doctor Wilkins
  • J. Carrol Naish ....General Philip Sheridan
  • Victor McLaglen ....Sergeant Major Timothy Quincannon
  • Grant Withers ....U.S. Deputy Marshal
  • Peter Ortiz ....Captain St. Jacques
  • Steve Pendleton ....Captain Prescott
  • Karolyn Grimes ....Margaret Mary
  • Alberto Morin .... Lieutenant
  • Stan Jones ... Sergeant
  • Fred Kennedy ... Trooper Heinze
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