When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.
A fur-trapper named Kelly, who once saved the life of a Sioux chief, is allowed to set his traps in Sioux territory during the late 1870s. Reluctantly he takes on a tenderfoot assistant named Anse and together they give shelter to a runaway Arapaho woman. Tensions develop when Anse falls in love with this woman and when the Sioux chief arrives with his warriors to re-claim her.Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
The Lakota and Arapahoe were allies. They sometimes lived side by side and intermarried. For the Lakota (Gall's tribe) to hold an Arapahoe as a captive is impossible. See more »
Opening title card:
The West was opened by courageous trail-blazing pioneers like Lewis & Clark and Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly - trapper, surveyor and Indian scout who was the first frontiersman to cross the mighty Yellowstone Valley.
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Opening credits: The West was opened by courageous trail-blazing pioneers like Lewis & Clark and Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly, - - trapper, surveyor, and indian scout who was the first frontiersman to cross the mighty Yellowstone Valley. See more »
One good thing—WB popped for some scenic Arizona locations, at the same time they didn't stint on extras to flesh out the big battle scene. However, reviewer Dinky is spot-on about the negatives. As a drama, the film is definitely inferior to the underrated Fort Dobbs (1958) that features the same production team. Writer Kennedy, for example, specialized in tight, emotionally complex Westerns, such as the legendary Ranown series with Randolph Scott. Here, however, he has to accommodate a host of WB contract players, including Sunset Strip hipster Edd Byrnes. This results in an over-crowded, over-stretched slice of eye candy that dissipates impact over a series of climaxes.
Arguably the movie's most interesting feature is the way the relationship between Kelly (Walker) and Anse (Byrnes) is handled. Now, if the masterly muscular Kelly is added, on one hand, to the submissive pretty-boy Anse, on the other, the sum is two iconic stereotypes of the gay community. Of course, production could have plunked a hat on Byrnes like everyone else and lessened his looks. But that would have outraged fans of the teen idol whose trademark had become a comb. So, the visual earmarks remain.
At the same time, the screenplay puts this suggestive two-some into a wilderness cabin for the winter, where the big-hair half does womanly duties like cooking and cleaning, while the macho trapper brings home the bacon. So, together you've got an unmistakable situation for perceptive 50's audiences that putting a woman (Wahleeah) into the mix doesn't erase. Plus, these visual hints are compounded with the homo erotic bed scene that Dinky describes so well. My point is that toying with this taboo could not have been lost on the filmmakers, causing me, at least, to wonder what their reasoning was. After all, the Western is about the most macho of all movie genres.
It's worth noting that the movie's overall quality is not affected by this one aspect. In fact, none of this would be worth remarking on if the movie were not from the uptight 1950's, when the topic of same-sex attraction could not even be mentioned, e.g. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). So in that sense, the film remains something of an oddity for its time. But the movie itself ranks a lot higher on the list of glamorized Westerns than on the list of compelling ones.
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