During the Civil War, in 1863,Confederate prisoners of war agree to join forces with the Union Army in the common fight against Indians.In return,the Confederate POWs are promised their freedom by President Lincoln during his Special Proclamation.A company of Confederate Georgia cavalry POWs,under the command of Confederate Colonel Clay Tucker, joins the Union on the sole condition they wouldn't have to fight against the Confederacy.The company is sent to the isolated and undermanned Fort Thorn, New Mexico, on the Western frontier. The fort is commanded by Union major Henry Kenniston who is limping from an old war wound and who hates Confederates.The old animosities between Unionists and Confederates quickly resurface during their fragile alliance against the Indians.Written by
Jeff Chandler, who was in the very early stages of his career, admired Joseph Cotten so much that he would show up to watch the veteran actor work even when he was not scheduled to be there. See more »
While set during the Civil War - the carbines the Cavalry uses in the film are model 1873 or later Springfield "Trapdoor" models. You can see people in many battle scenes flipping open the actions to reload. See more »
This gritty western is a post-Civil War affair set in New Mexico where soldiers of the Blue and the Gray are obliged to let bygones be bygones and tame the wild frontier for westward expansion. The usual antagonisms are present in abundance, with Union officers reluctant to trust the Confederate troops and question their allegiance to the United States. A top cast is headed by Joseph Cotten and Jeff Chandler, who constantly spar with each other about men, munitions and how to meet the Indian threat. Linda Darnell is the lone femme in the cast and her presence sparks romantic interest and jealousy in equal measure at the army post. The Yank-Rebel forces manage to put their bickering aside to defend against an Indian attack that remains one of the best ever filmed. The black and white lensing is good and enhances director Robert Wise's fine film.
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