Kirby Frye, a former Confederate officer but now a Union Cavalry scout, is sent into Montana territory to locate and retrieve three Gatling Guns stolen from the U.S. Arsenal by outlaws believed to have taken them west to sell to the Soiux and Cheyenne. The trail leads him to Red Bluff where, aided by Claire Corville, he and the audience discover together and real quick like that Martin Gavin, a supposedly-honest operator of a freight line, has the guns and intends to exchange them to the Indians for furs.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
We don't want dead Indians. We want peaceful unarmed ones, the frontier opened up again for everyone.
Out of Monogram Pictures, Cavalry Scout is directed by Leslie Selander and written by Dan Ullman. It stars Rod Cameron, Audrey Long, Jim Davis, James Milican, James Arness and John Doucette. Music is by Marlin Skiles and Cinecolor cinematography is by Harry Neumann.
"In the year 1876, while the United States was still recovering from the devastating effects of the Civil War, it found itself confronted with the tremendous responsibility for protecting its pioneers who were rapidly crowding into the Great West. Here the Indian nations, realising the threat to their lands, were organised for total war under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the great chiefs of the Sioux and Cheyenne nations. To protect its settlers, the Federal Government built a number of forts along the frontier, and garrisoned them with raw recruits; Union Army veterans, and even former Confederate Soldiers, all now united in the common defence. Introduced into this already seething situation was the factor of the Gatling Gun. Adopted by the army in 1866, this rapid-fire gun was the most terrifying weapon yet seen on the frontier. With it a few men - be they Soldiers or Indians - - could be masters of hundreds........"
The cavalry scout of the title is Kirby Frye, played by Rod Cameron, who is on a mission to locate stolen Gatling Guns before they are traded to the Indians by unscrupulous white men operating out of Red Bluff. "B" Western story telling staples do follow.
It's a very talky Oater, something which doesn't help a film that is already suffering due to being photographed in the notoriously bland Cinecolor lenses. This really should have been better, given the story has great interest on the page. The post Civil War amalgamation of soldiers for one cause is potent, as is the fact that Custer's last stand occurs during the tale. It's also commendable that Long's character isn't just in here for sexual tension dressage. Claire Conville is a thriving business woman holding important standings in Red Bluff, she's feisty to boot.
There's good thought in the screenplay, with even some pro Indian sentiments that are most welcome, but sadly the pic never fulfils its promise, wasting not only the thematic opportunities, but also a very committed and engaging cast. The finale is exciting, because oh my are those Gatling Guns awesome, but ultimately it's a frustrating experience for seasoned Western fans. Even for those who love the "B" productions of yore. Mark this down as a decent time waster, but no as an essential seek out. 6/10
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