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||IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from APPROVED votes
||Release: 05 Feb 1951 /
||Genre: History, Western
||Director: George Sherman,
||Stars: History, Western
||Synopsis: In 1866, a new gold discovery and an inconclusive conference force the U.S. Army to build a road and fort in territory ceded by previous treaty to the Sioux...to the disgust of frontier ...
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This great 1951 western just seems to get better with age. Having seen
the film many times over the years but again today on TV, I really
think this is one of the best westerns of the period and one that
stands the test of time. Filmed in a documentary style ( Voice-over at
beginning and end etc.)and influenced by the previous year's hit '
Broken Arrow', this film is actually an improvement as it does away
with any romance that dominated the earlier film and concentrates on
the story of Jim Bridger an Indian scout trying to keep peace between
the army & the Sioux, who are trying to secure land rights. Based on
the real life adventurer, the script while simplified remains
intelligent with the accent on action but is unusually sympathetic to
the Indians for 1951. Engrossing and beautifully photographed by
Charles P Boyle (Old Yeller, Davy Crockett) in glorious Technicolor.
Van Heflin gives a very convincing performance as Jim Bridger and it's
good to see native actors playing native Indians & speaking in their
native tongue! There are distinct parallels here with Costner's 'Dances
with Wolves' ( actually filmed in the same area of Dakota)and
interesting comparisons could be made with the award winning 1990 epic
but whilst I admire the more recent film, 'Tomahawk' is the one I look
forward to seeing again, all economically packaged in only 82 minutes!
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