A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
A trapper and his two partners work as scouts for a remote army fort where they witness an incompetent colonel's decision to throw his small unprepared garrison against Red Cloud's sizable Sioux force.
A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
US Army Sgt.-Major Lance Poole, a Shoshone Indian, returns home from the Civil War a highly decorated war hero, his intention being to live a quiet life on the family farm outside Big Horn in the Wyoming Territory being a cattle rancher. His family has been able to live the dream of eking out a good life off the impoverished reserve where there is little hope of that good life, in the process, while still retaining their traditional ways, being admired by the locals who know him and his family. Things have changed during his time away, anti-Indian legislation enacted in the Territory which has brought many farmers, ranchers and others to the area to homestead, which they are able to do legally on the Pooles' land since the Pooles do not have official title. With lawyer Verne Coolan being an open bigot who would not help any Shoshone even if asked, Lance turns to the only other lawyer in the area for legal advice, he learning on their first meeting that "A. Masters" is Orrie Masters, a...Written by
After an unsuccessful May 1950 press preview, MGM shelved the film. The grim movie was superbly made, but its uncompromising, downbeat story seemed to spell box-office disaster. After the release of the more mainstream Broken Arrow (1950) the following fall, it did get some bottom-of-the-bill bookings in neighborhood grindhouses but did little business and has remained little seen. See more »
Every Shoshone boy has to go through that. It's a test. Before a boy turns into a man, the tribe wants to know if he measures up.
Well, what does he have to do?
He's given a knife, nothing else. No food, no water. He has to go up into the mountains above the snow line... and bring back the talons of an eagle. He has three days to do it in. He has to be back on the third day before the sun goes down.
Isn't it rather cruel?
It depends on your point of view. You see, Shoshoni are a small tribe. ...
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It is shocking that this movie was able to be green-lighted in the Hollywood of 1950. But is the point of view presented here really sympathetic to the "Indians" or deterministic, as was the 1957 movie Something of Value, which told a similar tale about the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya. Should one be impressed by the subject matter or appalled that the fate of Native Americans was actually less important to these producers than their prurient fascination with an implied hook-up between Taylor (a red man rocking a page boy wig, his screen test for Ivanhoe) and Paula Raymond (the whitest woman in his world)? Whatever the impetus for the film, the acting is quite affecting all around. But the story is so relentlessly bleak and heartbreaking for a 1950 film, that one might almost imagine it as the retro nightmare of the misanthropic, Lars von Trier. The monstrous unfairness of the stolen land, the inhumane displacement of a very sympathetic group of Native Americans and their eventual annihilation is presented with no sugar coating in a way that has yet to be done for other famous sagas of injustice, such as American Slavery, the Irish potato famine or today's beleaguered Palestinians. There could not be a happy ending to any of these stories and this creative team deserves credit for realizing that about Devil's Doorway.
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