Rio Grande (1950)

105 mins | Western | 15 November 1950

Director:

John Ford

Cinematographer:

Bert Glennon

Editor:

Jack Murray

Production Designer:

Frank Hotaling

Production Company:

Argosy Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Rio Bravo and Rio Grande Command . In the onscreen credits, technical advisor Maj. Philip J. Kieffer's name was credited as "Maj. Philip J. Kieffer USA." Rio Grande was the last film in John Ford's cavalry trilogy. (For additional information on the trilogy, See Entry for Fort Apache .) Rio Grande , which was Ford's first picture for Republic, was shot on location in Moab, Monument Valley and Mexican Hat, UT. According to a modern source, Rio Grande was made as part of a deal to secure financing for Ford's The Quiet Man , which Herbert Yates agreed to back on the condition that Ford, Wayne, O'Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald first make a western for him. In a 17 Dec 1995 LAT article, O'Hara discussed the arrangement: "Yates read the script and said: 'This is a silly, little Irish story and it will never make a penny, but if the same director and the same producer [Merian C. Cooper] make me a film with the same actors--a western to make up the money you are going to lose on this story--I will finance it." According to a modern source, while on location in Moab, the crew "brought fifty Navajo up from the reservation to play Apache in the film, accompanied by Lee Bradley, who again served as translator. Billy Yellow, one of the Indians selected for closeups, stated forty years later that the Navajo weren't told that they were portraying Apache." Rio Grande was the first film in which Wayne acted with ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Rio Bravo and Rio Grande Command . In the onscreen credits, technical advisor Maj. Philip J. Kieffer's name was credited as "Maj. Philip J. Kieffer USA." Rio Grande was the last film in John Ford's cavalry trilogy. (For additional information on the trilogy, See Entry for Fort Apache .) Rio Grande , which was Ford's first picture for Republic, was shot on location in Moab, Monument Valley and Mexican Hat, UT. According to a modern source, Rio Grande was made as part of a deal to secure financing for Ford's The Quiet Man , which Herbert Yates agreed to back on the condition that Ford, Wayne, O'Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald first make a western for him. In a 17 Dec 1995 LAT article, O'Hara discussed the arrangement: "Yates read the script and said: 'This is a silly, little Irish story and it will never make a penny, but if the same director and the same producer [Merian C. Cooper] make me a film with the same actors--a western to make up the money you are going to lose on this story--I will finance it." According to a modern source, while on location in Moab, the crew "brought fifty Navajo up from the reservation to play Apache in the film, accompanied by Lee Bradley, who again served as translator. Billy Yellow, one of the Indians selected for closeups, stated forty years later that the Navajo weren't told that they were portraying Apache." Rio Grande was the first film in which Wayne acted with his son Patrick, and was also the first casting of Maureen O'Hara opposite Wayne. They went on to make four additional movies together. Modern sources add the following names to the crew credits: Asst ed Barbara Ford and 2d unit dir Cliff Lyons. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Nov 1950.
---
Daily Variety
2 Nov 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Nov 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Nov 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Nov 50
p. 562.
New York Times
20 Nov 50
p. 21.
Variety
8 Nov 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2nd unit photog
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Mission with No Record" by James Warner Bellah in The Saturday Evening Post (27 Sep 1947).
SONGS
"My Gal Is Purple," "Footsore Cavalry" and "Yellow Stripes," words and music by Stan Jones
"Aha, San Antone," words and music by Dale Evans
"Cattle Call," words and music by Tex Owens
+
SONGS
"My Gal Is Purple," "Footsore Cavalry" and "Yellow Stripes," words and music by Stan Jones
"Aha, San Antone," words and music by Dale Evans
"Cattle Call," words and music by Tex Owens
"I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," words and music by Thomas P. Westendorf
"Down By the Glen Side," words and music by Peader Kearney and P. J. Ryan
"You're in the Army Now," words by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen, music by Isham Jones
"(Fifteen Mile on the) Erie Canal," words and music by Thomas S. Allen.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Rio Grande Command
Rio Bravo
Release Date:
15 November 1950
Production Date:
mid June--late July 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 November 1950
Copyright Number:
LP565
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in feet):
9,439
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14822
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Some time after the Civil War, at a U.S. Cavalry fort near the Rio Grande River, soldiers and their prisoners return after a battle againstthe Apache. The Indians have been leading raids from the Mexican side of the border where the troopers are forbidden to follow. Upon his return to the fort, Col. Kirby Yorke learns that his son Jefferson, whom he has not seen for fifteen years, has been dropped from West Point after failing mathematics. Shortly after, Yorke, a no-nonsense career soldier, gives a new batch of recruits a harsh speech about the difficulties facing them, and then discovers that Jeff is among them. Privately, he later warns his son not to expect special treatment because of their kinship. Far from wanting favoritism from his father, Jeff pushes himself to prove that he can be a good soldier, despite his failure at West Point. During a riding lesson, a U.S. deputy marshal arrives in search of Trooper Travis Tyree, a Southerner who has been accused of manslaughter, but the other recruits keep him hidden. Later, Jeff starts a fight with recruit Heinze, who has insulted Yorke and called Yorke's old friend Sgt. Maj. Tim Quincannon, a "chowder-headed Mick." Quincannon stops the fight, but when he learns the reason for their dispute, instructs them to return that evening to settle their disagreement. This time, the fight is interrupted by Yorke, who demands an explanation. Both Heinze and Jeff refuse to answer, and then apologize and shake hands. One day, Yorke's estranged southern wife Kathleen arrives at the fort and tries to buy her son's discharge from the army. ... +


Some time after the Civil War, at a U.S. Cavalry fort near the Rio Grande River, soldiers and their prisoners return after a battle againstthe Apache. The Indians have been leading raids from the Mexican side of the border where the troopers are forbidden to follow. Upon his return to the fort, Col. Kirby Yorke learns that his son Jefferson, whom he has not seen for fifteen years, has been dropped from West Point after failing mathematics. Shortly after, Yorke, a no-nonsense career soldier, gives a new batch of recruits a harsh speech about the difficulties facing them, and then discovers that Jeff is among them. Privately, he later warns his son not to expect special treatment because of their kinship. Far from wanting favoritism from his father, Jeff pushes himself to prove that he can be a good soldier, despite his failure at West Point. During a riding lesson, a U.S. deputy marshal arrives in search of Trooper Travis Tyree, a Southerner who has been accused of manslaughter, but the other recruits keep him hidden. Later, Jeff starts a fight with recruit Heinze, who has insulted Yorke and called Yorke's old friend Sgt. Maj. Tim Quincannon, a "chowder-headed Mick." Quincannon stops the fight, but when he learns the reason for their dispute, instructs them to return that evening to settle their disagreement. This time, the fight is interrupted by Yorke, who demands an explanation. Both Heinze and Jeff refuse to answer, and then apologize and shake hands. One day, Yorke's estranged southern wife Kathleen arrives at the fort and tries to buy her son's discharge from the army. Yorke refuses to sign the necessary release, stating that he will not interfere with Jeff's decision. Both Yorke and Kathleen are still strongly attracted to each other, although neither will admit it, and Yorke leaves Kathleen to spend the night alone. Quincannon then escorts Kathleen to Jeff's tent. When he learns why she has come, Jeff, as his father anticipated, refuses to leave. That night, Apaches attack the fort and rescue the soldiers' prisoners. Yorke leads his men as they go after the fugitives, and while he is gone, Tyree is arrested. Kathleen objects, believing that "Yankee justice" has falsely accused the nice young southerner. Later, Quincannon reveals that fifteen years ago, during the Civil War, Gen. Sheridan ordered Yorke to burn down the plantation operated by Kathleen's family and that is why she left him and prevented him from seeing his son. Meanwhile, Yorke's men meet with some Mexican soldiers in the middle of the Rio Grande. Yorke suggests that they disregard the orders of their governments and work together to catch the renegade Apaches but cannot persuade the Mexican lieutenant. Back in camp, Kathleen is waiting for Yorke's return. They embrace and, after Yorke apologizes, they discuss their marriage. She again pushes for their son's release, but Yorke maintains that Jeff must learn to honor his word. That night at dinner with Sheridan, Kathleen toasts her only rival, the U.S. Cavalry. At the infirmary, where he is incarcerated, Tyree admits that a dispute over his sister led to a violent encounter with a Yankee, but insists that he did not kill him. Soon after, Tyree escapes on Yorke's horse. Expecting more Indian attacks, Yorke evacuates the women and children to Fort Bliss, assigning Jeff to be one of the escorts. Although she realizes that Jeff will be unhappy that he will not be among the soldiers, Kathleen is grateful. The evacuation begins, but soon the small group is under Apache fire, and Jeff is ordered to carry news of the attack to Yorke. By the time Yorke and Dr. Wilkins arrive, the Indians have captured the fort's children. When Tyree, who has been hiding nearby, approaches the regiment, Yorke orders him arrested, but Tyree reports that he has scouted the Apache camp in a village on the Mexican side of the river, where the children are being held in a church. He offers to try to rescue them with two men of his choice. Yorke is worried when one of the chosen is Jeff, but allows them to proceed. While the three men sneak into the church, Yorke leads the regiment across the Rio Grande. Once the children are organized, one of the girls rings the church bell to summon the soldiers. During the ensuing battle, Yorke is shot in the chest with an arrow. On Yorke's orders, Jeff removes the arrow from his father's chest and and helps him onto his horse for the ride back to the fort. Kathleen is waiting, and holding Yorke's hand, accompanies her husband to the infirmary. Later, under Yorke's proud gaze, Jeff receives a commendation for bravery. In the middle of the ceremony, Tyree steals Sheridan's horse and escapes from the deputy marshal with Yorke's encouragement. The regiment then marches off to the strains of "Dixie," played in Kathleen's honor. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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