Drum Beat (1954)

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    Plot Summary
    President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle. After Modoc renegade Captain Jack engages in ambush and other atrocities, MacKay must fight him one-on-one with guns, knives and fists.
    Written by Ed Stephan

    Alan Ladd ... Johnny MacKay
    Audrey Dalton ... Nancy Meek
    Marisa Pavan ... Toby
    Robert Keith ... Bill Satterwhite
    Rodolfo Acosta ... Scarface Charlie
    Charles Bronson ... Kintpuash, aka Captain Jack
    Warner Anderson ... Gen. Canby
    Elisha Cook Jr. ... Blaine Crackel
    Anthony Caruso ... Manok
    Richard Gaines ... Dr. Thomas
    Hayden Rorke ... President Ulysses S. Grant
    Frank DeKova ... Modoc Jim
    Perry Lopez ... Bogus Charlie
    Isabel Jewell ... Lily White
    Peggy Converse ... Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant
    Pat Lawless ... O'Brien
    Frank Ferguson ... Mr. Dyar
    George J. Lewis ... Capt. Alonzo Clark (as George Lewis)
    Peter Hansen ... Lt. Goodsall
    Willis Bouchey ... Gen. Gilliam
    Strother Martin ... Scotty
    Edgar Stehli ... Jesse Grant
    Richard H. Cutting ... Col. Meek
    Michael Daves ... Young Boddy (as Mike Lawrence)
    Danny Borzage ... Soldier (uncredited)
    Denver Pyle ... Fairchild (uncredited)
    And many more...

    Delmer Daves

    Writing Credits
    Delmer Daves ... (screenplay)(story)
    Delmer Daves
    Alan Ladd

    Victor Young

    J. Peverell Marley

    General Edward Canby, whose death is depicted in this movie, was in reality the only U.S. army general killed during the American Indian Wars. "General" G. A. Custer, killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, was not in fact a general at the time of his death. After the Civil War, he held the permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

    Actor Charles Buchinsky (his birth name) changed his name to Charles Bronson,using his new moniker for the first time in this film,and remained so for the rest of his acting career.

    Character error
    When Captain Jack meets with the peace commission and asked by Johnny MacKay what it would take to make peace, he responds "all of the Lost River to the Klamath." He was in fact a Modoc.

    Crew or equipment visible
    When the woman on the stagecoach is shot by a Modoc arrow, if you look closely you can see the filament wire used to "guide" the prop arrow to its target.

    Incorrectly regarded as goofs
    This movie was based on the 1869 Modoc Indian uprising in northern California, yet they show 44-40 lever action Winchester rifles, which were not introduced until 1873.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Sedona, Arizona, USA
    Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona, USA
    Coconino National Forest, Arizona, USA
    Iverson Ranch - 1 Iverson Lane, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Peaks Ranger District, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
    Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona, USA
    Sedona Ranger District, Sedona, Arizona, USA

    Watch the Movie

    Drum Beat

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Drum Beat is a 1954 CinemaScope western film in WarnerColor written and directed by
    Delmer Daves and co-produced by Daves and Alan Ladd in his first film for his Jaguar Productions company.
    Ladd stars along with Audrey Dalton, Charles Bronson as Captain Jack, and Hayden Rorke as President Ulysses S. Grant.

    Filmed in Sedona, Arizona,the story uses elements of the 1873 Modoc War in its narrative,
    with Ladd playing a white man asked by the U.S. Army to attempt negotiations with Native Modocs
    who are about to wage war.

    An early role for Charles Bronson (originally Buchinsky), who plays Captain Jack
    as a memorable villain wearing the coat of a deceased US Cavalry Captain.
    After murdering General Edward Canby (Warner Anderson) during a peace negotiation,
    Bronson puts on the late General's coat and announces to the audience "Me GENERAL Jack now!"

    The film was announced in April 1954. It was the first production from Ladd's own company,
    Jaguar, which released through Warner Bros.He made it after a spell of almost two years making films outside the USA.

    Delmer Daves wrote the script based on his family's first hand knowledge of the Modoc Indians
    on the California-Oregon border in the 1870s.

    Marisa Pavan and Audrey Dalton were signed to three picture contracts with Jaguar
    Dalton was borrowed from Paramount.

    In the actual events of the Modoc war of 1873 Modoc Toby (Winema) Riddle doesn't die and saves the life of severely wounded Alfred B. Meacham who was an American Methodist minister, reformer, and served as the U.S. Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon (1869–1872). At the time of the Peace Tent assassinations he was chairman of the Modoc Peace Commission. Toby (Winema) Riddle was one of the few Native American women to be honored by the US Congress authorizing a military pension for her because of her heroism and service. She lived until 1920.

    Captain Jack was hanged for General Edward Canby's murder, along with three of his warriors. The rest of the tribe was either returned to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon or relocated to Oklahoma. Canby, by the way, was the only U.S. Army general killed in a war against the Indians. (George Armstrong Custer was, in fact, only a lieutenant colonel at the time of his 1876 death at Little Big Horn.

    User Review

    A fine outdoors action western
    25 May 2003 | by NewEnglandPat (Virginia)

    Quote from NEW

    This western is one of Alan Ladd's best films and he is the peace commissioner turned Indian fighter who finally brings peace in the far west. The film is based on factual events as Modoc boss Captain Jack ignores repeated overtures for peace and leaves the cavalry no choice but to resort to arms to stop the killing and outrages. Ladd and Charles Bronson, the Indian leader, make fine adversaries and the movie has lots of action and beautiful scenery. A great cast of western favorites are in the film and Ladd even has a moment or two to clinch with with pretty Audrey Dalton. Marisa Pavan is an Indian maiden who also has a yen for Ladd. Delmer Daves directed this film, which is another in a succession of excellent Daves westerns.

    Victor Young's fine music accompanies the film.

    Best Wishes
    London- England