Cheyenne Autumn (1964)

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    Information From IMDb

    Plot Summary
    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 then 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

    Full Cast
    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
    Patrick Wayne ... Second Lieut. Scott
    Elizabeth Allen ... Miss Plantagenet
    John Carradine ... Jeff Blair
    Victor Jory ... Tall Tree
    Mike Mazurki ... Sr. First Sergeant
    George O'Brien ... Major Braden
    Sean McClory ... Dr. O'Carberry
    Judson Pratt ... Mayor Dog Kelly
    Carmen D'Antonio ... Pawnee Woman
    Ken Curtis ... Joe
    James Stewart ... Wyatt Earp
    Edward G. Robinson ... the Secretary of the Interior
    Walter Baldwin ... Jeremy Wright - Deborah's Uncle (uncredited)
    Danny Borzage ... Trooper (uncredited)
    Willis Bouchey ... Colonel at Victory Cave (uncredited)
    Lee Bradley ... Cheyenne (uncredited)
    Harry Carey Jr. ... Trooper Smith (uncredited)
    Dan Carr ... Trooper (uncredited)
    Jeannie Epper ... Entertainer (uncredited)
    Stephanie Epper ... Entertainer (uncredited)
    Shug Fisher ... Skinny - Texas Cattle Drover (uncredited)
    James Flavin ... Ft. Robinson Sergeant of the Guard (Uncredited)
    William Forrest ... Senator (uncredited)
    Donna Hall ... Entertainer (uncredited)
    Sam Harris ... Dodge City Townsman (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward ... Trooper (uncredited)
    William Henry ... Infantry Captain (uncredited)
    Harry Hickox ... Bartender (uncredited)
    Harry Holcombe ... Senator (uncredited)
    Nancy Hsueh ... Little Bird (uncredited)
    Ben Johnson ... Trooper Plumtree (uncredited)
    Steven Manymules ... Point Man (uncredited)
    Ted Mapes ... Trooper (uncredited)
    Mae Marsh ... Woman (uncredited)
    Philo McCullough ... Man (uncredited)
    John McKee ... Trooper (uncredited)
    David Miller ... Trooper (uncredited)
    Louise Montana ... Woman (uncredited)
    Nanomba 'Moonbeam' Morton ... Running Deer (uncredited)
    Many Muleson ... Medicine Man (uncredited)
    James O'Hara ... Trooper (uncredited)
    Denver Pyle ... Sen. Henry (uncredited)
    John Qualen ... Svenson (uncredited)
    Walter Reed ... Lt. Peterson - Ft. Robinson (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson ... Jessie - Texas Trail Boss (uncredited)
    Bing Russell ... Braden's Telegraph Operator (uncredited)
    Charles Seel ... Newspaper Publisher (uncredited)
    Mary Statler ... Entertainer (uncredited)
    Carleton Young ... Aide to Carl Schurz (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Mari Sandoz (suggested by "Cheyenne Autumn")
    James R. Webb (screenplay)
    Howard Fast (novel "The Last Frontier") uncredited

    Original Music
    Alex North

    William H. Clothier (director of photography) (as William Clothier)

    The "Cheyenne" are actually Navajo, telling dirty jokes in their native tongue.

    According to both John Ford and James Stewart, Ford added the segment with Stewart in place of an intermission. Ford didn't want people leaving the auditorium to go the bathroom or concessions counter, even though the film was long, and so he came up with the Wyatt Earp segment. He later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies.

    According to Joseph McBride's "Searching for John John", John Ford was urged to cast Richard Boone and Anthony Quinn as the Little Wolf and Dull Knife characters, as both had Native American blood. Ricardo Montalban and Gilbert Roland, who were of Mexican descent, were cast instead.

    Spencer Tracy was first cast as the secretary of interior Karl Shultz, but had a heart attack and was replaced by Edward G. Robinson, whose scenes were entirely photographed in studios, including the climatic meeting scene between Shultz and the Cheyenne chiefs, in which the background had to be done with screen process.

    The final duel between Little Wolf and Red Shirt was shot on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. Though legends say that John Ford, so saddened by the death of the first Irish president of the nation, mourned his death by halting the shoot on that day, production documents actually show that it was the only scene to be shot that day, and they moved from Utah in the afternoon as originally scheduled.

    Average Shot Length = ~11.6 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~11.2 seconds.

    The usually puritanical John Ford contemplated filming a nude scene with Carroll Baker bathing in a river, but ultimately it wasn't shot.

    When film critic Peter Bogdanovich visited the set to interview John Ford, he was introduced to Nancy Hsueh, who played Little Bird, whom Bogdanovich later cast in his first film, Targets (1968). While Bogdanovich was on the set, Sal Mineo recommended the book "The Last Picture Show" by Larry McMurtry to him, which became his second film as director seven years later.

    John Ford would not allow Sal Mineo to speak any English dialog in the movie due to the actor's Bronx accent.

    The role of Lt. Scott was originally offered to Jeffrey Hunter, who turned it town in order to star in the TV series "Temple Houston" (1963). The part was eventually given to Patrick Wayne. Hunter's series only ran for one season before it was cancelled.

    * Factual errors: During the cavalry's first encounter with the Indians, the cannons are fired and there is absolutely no recoil.

    * Anachronisms: The lanterns held by army guards outside the warehouse where the Indians were being kept after surrendering were "Coleman" lanterns, first produced in 1914.

    * Anachronisms: In various shots, most notably when we first see the cavalry outpost, jet contrails can be seen in the skies.

    * Errors in geography: The Cheyenne Indians cross the Canadian River in Indian Territory, which today is known as Oklahoma. The film was shot in Utah, where the magnificent desert bluffs and mountains in the scene exist. Nothing along the Canadian River in Oklahoma even closely resembles this. The Canadaian River flows through prairie and is lined by cottonwood and other trees.

    * Revealing mistakes: When Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz talks with the colonel at the Victory Cave, the soldiers standing in the background are from a totally different scene: the light, colors and proportions are different.

    * Factual errors: James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy are clearly both far too old to be Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

    Filming Locations
    Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA
    Castle Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
    Colorado River, Moab, Utah, USA
    Fisher Canyon, Moab, Utah, USA
    Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah, USA
    Fort Laramie, Wyoming, USA
    Goulding's Lodge, Monument Valley, Utah, USA
    Gunnison Canyon, Colorado, USA
    Gunnison National Park, Colorado, USA
    Gunnison, Colorado, USA
    Mexican Hat, Utah, USA
    Moab, Utah, USA
    Monument Valley, Utah, USA
    Professor Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
    RKO Encino Ranch - Balboa Boulevard & Burbank Boulevard, Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA
    (town exterior scenes)
    San Juan River, Mexican Hat, Utah, USA
    South Park Avenue, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA
    (flat area used for Cheyenne exodus scenes)
    White's Ranch - Milepost 14 Utah Hwy 128, Moab, Utah, USA

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Cheyenne Autumn is a 1964 Western movie starring Richard Widmark,
    Carroll Baker, James Stewart, and Edward G. Robinson.
    Regarded as an epic film, it tells the story of a factual event,
    the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1878-9, although it is told in 'Hollywood style'
    using a great deal of artistic license

    The film was the last Western directed by John Ford, who proclaimed it an elegy
    for the Native Americans who had been abused by the U.S. government
    and misrepresented by many of the director's own films.
    With a budget of more than $4,000,000, the film was relatively unsuccessful
    at the box office and failed to earn a profit for its distributor, Warner Bros.

    Cheyenne Autumn, was not the classic
    as most of the other westerns in this series.
    However, although it was unsuccessful at the time of release,
    it has grown in stature.

    It was to be Ford's last western, and a movie in which
    some thought he was making an applogy to the Native Indians,
    in portraying them in a better light.

    However according to
    Harry Carey Jr.Company Of Heroes,
    Ford made the film because the story was good and nothing more.

    The movie starred some great names, notably Richard Wydmark,
    who Ford enjoyed working with in Two Rode Together.

    The film was criticized for the comedic episode in the middle
    relating to Wyatt Earp.
    Although this starred Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Kennedy,John Carradine
    most found it spoilt the film and it's continuity.
    Ford claimed he had inserted this spot as a sort
    of 'intermission'!

    However Harry Carey Jr. stated that
    he wanted to work those actors one last time,
    and this was his excuse to include them


    Conveniently adapted story of Northern Cheyenne, 25 August 2005
    Author: esteban hernandez from Italy
    This film shows just a bit of the tragedy of Northern Cheyenne. The film or John Ford did not show that they initially fought together with Sioux led by Sitting Bull war in 1876 and were partially massacred by Custer. Later they fought once again and were defeated at McKenzie compelling them to surrender. Two years later, the prisoners Dull Knife, Wild Hog, and Little Wolf were brought down as prisoners to Fort Reno, from where they escaped and were later killed without mercy. Part of the survivors were killed later when they tried to escape from Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and the others finally confined to a reservation in Montana. Probably Ford wanted to show this story softly giving some feeling of justice to Captain Archer (Richard Widmark), but at the end the film became an approximate story of the reality. Cheyenne, either northern or southern were expelled out from their natural areas, they missed bull hunting and their ancestral traditions. Beside this historical considerations, one must admit that Ford had a very good cast for the film with Widmark, Carroll Baker, always efficient Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden and others. The only thing difficult to understand was the scene with James Stewart (as Wyatt Earp) together with the veterans Arthur Kennedy and John Carradine, which in my opinion was out of the context.

    Some people believe that Westerns are not more of use in Hollywood. I believe that some westerns giving real stories of what happened with the Indians are very much necessary to understand the history of the real American people. Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Dull Knife and others were not criminals, they were only defending the land where they were born and raised. So their lives should be brought fairly to the screen in the coming future.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Cant b elieve im saying this but i actually thought that it seemed like 2 different movies, first bit directed by one, second by another, i didnt really like it at all, or, portions of it were a bit strange i gues is what i mean

  • I never could warm up to this one either. It had a lot of Ford's stock players, a decent script, great photography and a knock out score, but the overacting seemed to be contagious. Karl Malden was waaaay over the top. Until now, I had no idea why the Stewart scene was even in the movie.

    We deal in lead, friend.

  • Exactly what i thought, and J Stewart is my next in line to JW, and it was totally """out there "" lololol
    I just couldnt help thinking Ford must have been away some of the time, only explanation, he's my fave director as well, it was reaaaaaallly strange wasnt it

  • Not one of my favorites either, but I DO enjoy Sean McClory's turn as the fort doctor. Nice to see him in a larger role than usual.

  • My impression is that this film, being Ford's last major theatrical release and his getting up in years, was not a major accomplishment for the revered director. At his age, he may have lost some of his abilities to pay attention to details and to encourage the actors to excell. Just a thought.

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • Thank you, Larry, for posting these stills. It's probably just my own personal prejudice against this movie, but even the images don't seem to depict that Remington quality that was evident in snaps from Ford's other movies.

    Any and all stills, however, are more than welcome. How often do we have memorabilia about 50 years old?

    We deal in lead, friend.