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Only the Valiant (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 21 April 1951 (USA)
A despised cavalry commander is unfairly blamed by his troop for the death of a popular officer and must redeem himself in front of his men during an Indian attack on the fort.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writers:

Edmund H. North (screenplay), Harry Brown (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Capt. Richard Lance
Barbara Payton ... Cathy Eversham
Ward Bond ... Cpl. Timothy Gilchrist
Gig Young ... Lt. William Holloway
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Trooper Kebussyan (as Lon Chaney)
Neville Brand ... Sgt. Ben Murdock
Jeff Corey ... Joe Harmony
Warner Anderson ... Trooper Rutledge
Steve Brodie ... Trooper Onstot
Dan Riss ... Lt. Jerry Winters
Terry Kilburn ... Trooper Saxton
Herbert Heyes ... Col. Drumm
Art Baker ... Capt. Jennings
Hugh Sanders ... Capt. Eversham
Michael Ansara ... Tucsos
Edit

Storyline

Capt. Richard Lance is unjustly held responsible, by his men and girlfriend, for an Indian massacre death of beloved Lt. Holloway. Holloway is killed while escorting a dangerous Indian chief to another fort's prison. The chief escapes. Knowing their fort is in danger of Indian attack, Lance takes a small group of army misfits to an abandoned nearby army fort to defend a mountain pass against the oncoming Indian assault. Their mission is to stall for time until reinforcements from another fort arrive. The men in this small group of malcontents, deserters, psychopaths and cowards all hate Capt. Lance and wish him dead. Much to their chagrin, the men recognize that Lance's survival instincts, military knowledge and leadership are the only chance the group has of staying alive. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

GREGORY PECK, AS CAPTAIN LANCE, WHO GAVE FORT INVINCIBLE ITS NAME! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fort Invincible See more »

Filming Locations:

Gallup, New Mexico, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gregory Peck was reluctant to play in the movie, because of the actors and director. But according to Michael Ansara, Peck remained very professional, asking for retakes when he thought a scene was not good. See more »

Goofs

A time line was never developed. Since there was ongoing trouble between the Sgt. and one of the troopers who was formerly a rebel soldier, this had to take place during the Civil war or just after. They do mention that the Gatling gun was just developed, which would make it during the Civil war. All the troopers are carrying Winchester rifles and Colt single action army revolvers, not manufactured until the 1870's. The song, 'Little Brown Jug', is heard and it was written in 1869. See more »

Quotes

Cathy Eversham: Why did you do it? Why?
Capt. Richard Lance: I don't know what you're talking about Cathy.
Cathy Eversham: You're not fooling me. I've lived on an army post all my life. Dad's right. Orders don't changed unless someone goes to an awful lot of trouble to change 'em.
Capt. Richard Lance: Cathy, believe me, it's just the way things are. I was planning to go myself.
Cathy Eversham: Until you saw Bill kissing me, and then you went directly to Colonel Drumm. I never-
[Cathy runs out of the room]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in L'important c'est d'aimer (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Little Brown Jug
(uncredited)
Written by Joseph Winner
Played by a harmonica player in the barracks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining Western
26 September 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

"Only the Valiant" is not a great western; in fact it is obvious that the director, cast and producers knew perfectly it was not going to be one. However the product is entertaining and has an interesting plot.

In order to gain some time, Cpt. Lance (Gregory Peck) is sent to defend a small abandoned fort located right in the opening of a small passage between the mountains through which the Apaches will have to ride in their way to attack the army's main position. He has been accused by his girl of sending his friend Lt. Holloway (Gig Young) in a sure-death mission just to get rid of romantic competition; Peck is innocent of course, but he doesn't feel he has to explain (sort of a character like the one he played some years later in "The Big Country").

Lance chooses his men for the mission among the worst in the regiment and those he knows have personal feelings against him. He occupies the fort and waits for the Apaches to come while watching his back at he same time.

The picture, totally unpretentious, was shot in black and white by director Gordon Douglas and you could say this was a correct decision for it adds to the grey and dark atmosphere that reigns in the fort. It is also interesting when Lance forms the men and tells each one clearly why he has chosen them for the deadly task.

The cast is adequate. Peck is good as the righteous Captain as also is Gig Young in his small part. Among the troopers you'll find such classical tough guys of the 40's and 50' as Lon Chaney, Ward Bond and Neville Brand. Michael Ansara is the Indian chief.

But what really demerits the film are some indoor settings representing the rocky passage and the fort itself that look clearly fake and cheap. Michael Ansara's outfit looks more like one for a costume party than that of the chief of an Indian war party. The point is that producers didn't want to spend much money on this film and it shows.

However it turns out to be a rather enjoyable army against Indians western and its worth one look at least.


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