DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT (director: Lew Landers; screenwriters: Richard Schayer/from a story by Ford Beebe; cinematographers: George Diskant/John Mescall; editors: Kenneth Crane/Stewart Frye; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: George Montgomery (Davy Crockett), Ellen Drew (Frances Oatman), Phillip Reed (Red Hawk), Noah Beery, Jr. (Tex McGee), Paul Guilfoyle (Ben), Addison Richards (Capt. Weightman), Robert Barrat (James Lone Eagle), Erik Rolf (Mr. Simms), William Wilkerson (High Tree), John Hamilton (Col. Pollard), Chief Thundercloud (Sleeping Fox), Ray Teal (Capt. McHale); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Small; United Artists; 1950)
“The misleading title fails to tell us that this Davy Crockett is only a fictional cousin to the real Davy Crockett.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This forgettable pre-Disney film about Davy Crockett, before the Disney TV series starring Fess Parker made the coonskin cap wearing frontiersman the country’s rage, is a low-budget western. It has our hero occupied with the Indian Wars of the 1840s, which is more than a decade after the fall of the Alamo and makes this film about Davy Crockett non-factual since he died at the Alamo. The misleading title fails to tell us that this Davy Crockett is only a fictional cousin to the real Davy Crockett, as one gets this info after a quarter of the way into the film from a brief conversation between the heroine settler and the Indian scout named Davy Crockett.
It’s directed without distinction by longtime TV director and Hollywood B-film filmmaker Lew Landers (“Hurricane Island”/”Hot Rod Gang”/”Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land”), and writer Richard Schayer bases it on a story by Ford Beebe. “Crockett” is a routine wagon train saga that used stock footage from producer Smalls’ Kit Carson (1940), including for its best action sequence of the settlers’ wagon trains making a perfect circle to stave off a climactic Indian attack.
It’s set in 1848 at a time the United States and Mexico signed a peace treaty that opened up the great Southwest to the pioneers. Trouble is the Indians don’t care about that deal, as they are fearful the pioneers want their land and therefore attack the incoming war trains.
One attacked wagon train reaches Fort Gardner, and the fort head Col. Pollard (John Hamilton) convenes a hearing that believes a spy on that wagon train tipped off Chief Lone Eagle (Robert Barrat) to the movements of the wagons. Indian scout Davy Crockett (George Montgomery) and his loyal Indian sidekick Red Hawk (Phillip Reed) investigate. It’s discovered that one of the pioneers is Frances Oatman (Ellen Drew), a half-breed whose father is Chief Lone Eagle. Frances falls in love with Red Hawk, and flees her father’s camp to warn the whites of her father’s surprise attack.
The film shows that there are good as well as bad Indians, as the good Indian Red Hawk, played by a white actor, takes the benign Indian role Jay Silverheels would later make famous in his portrayal of the Lone Ranger’s sidekick Tonto.
REVIEWED ON 5/19/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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