(director: Byron Haskin; screenwriter: Frank Gruber; cinematographer: Ray Rennahan; editor: Philip Martin; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Dean Jagger (Sam Quade), Edmond O’Brien (John Vickers), Forrest Tucker (Sgt. O’Hara), Harry Carey Jr. (Capt. Gregson), James Millican (General Custer), Paul Fix (Pvt. Fiore), Polly Bergen (Molly Quade), Wallace Ford (Capt. Gregson), Louis Jean Heydt (Woodson); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Holt; Paramount; 1951)
“Diverting revenge western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Three outlaws kill a cowboy’s fiancee and he avenges her death.
Byron Haskin (“Long John Silver”/”The Naked Jungle”/”Robinson Crusoe on Mars“) in a pulp fiction way, with plenty of action, directs this diverting revenge western and Frank Gruber writes the economical screenplay.
John Vickers (Edmond O’Brien), a former Cavalry officer, is the obsessed cowboy on the trail of the killers for the last eight years. When he finds one of the killers, Woodson (Louis Jean Heydt), he kills him in a gunfight. Vickers also gets out of him that the unnamed other two joined the U.S. Cavalry under the command of General Custer. Vickers enlists in Custer’s forces and when recognized by Custer as a former Union officer he makes him a first sergeant. The bully Sgt O’Hara (Forrest Tucker) realizes that Vickers suspects him and in a panic deserts. As Custer advances to fight the Sioux at Little Big Horn, the Indians capture Sam Quade (Dean Jagger), the owner of a general store, his daughter Molly (Polly Bergen) and Vickers. O’Hara is already an Indian captive. Learning about the Indian attack, O’Hara escapes trying to warn Custer of being outnumbered. The others escape, as O’Hara gives up his life saving them. Before Vickers can kill Molly’s dad, the third killer, the storekeeper, rides to warn Custer of the attack but never makes it to the general.The rest is history.
Harry Carey Jr. does a good job playing the troop commander.
REVIEWED ON 4/27/2015 GRADE: B-