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HISTORY

Pre-production news items in HR yield the following information about this production: Terry Moore and Joan Collins were both considered for the female leads. Actress Lupita Tovar, the mother of actress Susan Kohner, is included in the cast in an Apr 1956 HR news item, but she did not appear in the film. An early May 1956 HR news item adds that rodeo stars Phil Rawlins and Erwin Neal were assigned to the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed.
       The Last Wagon was filmed on location in Sedona, AZ, at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon. In an article in the NYT , director Delmer Daves described the difficulty he had in finding a pristine location for the film, as his previous western, Broken Arrow , had popularized the ... More Less

Pre-production news items in HR yield the following information about this production: Terry Moore and Joan Collins were both considered for the female leads. Actress Lupita Tovar, the mother of actress Susan Kohner, is included in the cast in an Apr 1956 HR news item, but she did not appear in the film. An early May 1956 HR news item adds that rodeo stars Phil Rawlins and Erwin Neal were assigned to the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed.
       The Last Wagon was filmed on location in Sedona, AZ, at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon. In an article in the NYT , director Delmer Daves described the difficulty he had in finding a pristine location for the film, as his previous western, Broken Arrow , had popularized the region. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Sep 1956.
---
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1956
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Aug 1956
p. 10.
Hollywood Citizen-News
20 Sep 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 56
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 56
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 1956
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
20 Sep 1956.
---
Motion Picture Daily
28 Aug 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Sep 1956
p. 49.
New York Times
1 Jul 1956.
---
New York Times
22 Sep 1956
p. 20.
Newsweek
15 Oct 1956.
---
Time
24 Sep 1956.
---
Variety
29 Aug 1956
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 Sep 1956; New York opening: 21 Sep 1956
Production Date:
mid Apr--early Jun 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 August 1956
Copyright Number:
LP7346
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
98-99
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18072
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Comanche Todd, a white man reared by Comanche Indians, is captured by Sheriff Bull Harper, who has accused Todd of murdering three of his brothers. As the sheriff drags Todd along by a rope, they encounter a wagon train of teenagers and children, led by Col. William Normand of the Union Army. The wagon train is on its way to Tucson through the dangerous Canyon de la Muerte, and Harper warns Normand about the imminent danger posed by the Apache Indians. Harper decides to ride along with the train, and, as the group rests for mealtime, he ties Todd to a wagon wheel. Although the sheriff has refused to allow his prisoner to eat or drink, Billy, a young boy traveling to Tucson with his sister Jenny, brings the nearly starving Todd a plate of food anyway. When Harper shoots at Billy, Normand intervenes, telling the sheriff that they are Christian people, and demanding that he untie and feed the prisoner. Later, when another teenager gives Todd a puff of his tobacco pipe, the sheriff almost shoots the young man, but Todd manages to throw an ax at Harper's chest, killing him. Normand is furious and warns Todd not to try to escape, as they plan to turn him over to the law. Later that night, one of the teenage boys encourages some of the children to go for a midnight swim, including Normand's two motherless daughters--Jolie, from his first marriage to an Indian woman, and Valinda, the offspring of his second marriage to a white woman. When the group returns, they discover that an Indian ambush has taken place and that their ... +


Comanche Todd, a white man reared by Comanche Indians, is captured by Sheriff Bull Harper, who has accused Todd of murdering three of his brothers. As the sheriff drags Todd along by a rope, they encounter a wagon train of teenagers and children, led by Col. William Normand of the Union Army. The wagon train is on its way to Tucson through the dangerous Canyon de la Muerte, and Harper warns Normand about the imminent danger posed by the Apache Indians. Harper decides to ride along with the train, and, as the group rests for mealtime, he ties Todd to a wagon wheel. Although the sheriff has refused to allow his prisoner to eat or drink, Billy, a young boy traveling to Tucson with his sister Jenny, brings the nearly starving Todd a plate of food anyway. When Harper shoots at Billy, Normand intervenes, telling the sheriff that they are Christian people, and demanding that he untie and feed the prisoner. Later, when another teenager gives Todd a puff of his tobacco pipe, the sheriff almost shoots the young man, but Todd manages to throw an ax at Harper's chest, killing him. Normand is furious and warns Todd not to try to escape, as they plan to turn him over to the law. Later that night, one of the teenage boys encourages some of the children to go for a midnight swim, including Normand's two motherless daughters--Jolie, from his first marriage to an Indian woman, and Valinda, the offspring of his second marriage to a white woman. When the group returns, they discover that an Indian ambush has taken place and that their families have been killed. Todd, who had been left on guard by the teens, is the only one found alive, and while Billy and Jenny greatly admire Todd for his bravery, the other half of the group thinks he is an Indian-loving murderer. Jolie decides, along with Billy and Jenny, to trust Todd, but Valinda loathes the man and believes all Indians to be dirty savages, including her own sister whom she deeply resents. Todd's first order, much to the teenagers' shock, is that they cannot bury their dead relatives, as the graves would signal to the Indians that some of the camp was left alive. That night Todd witnesses the gathering of Apaches, who are planning to retaliate for an attack on them, which left many women and children dead. Todd returns to the camp and says the group must move fast to avoid the warring Indian bands. During the journey, Billy and Todd become fast friends. One day, as Todd teaches Billy how to trap a rabbit, an Indian appears with bow and arrow, but Todd shoots him before he kills the boy. Valinda is then bitten by a rattlesnake, and Todd saves her, despite her bad temper and screaming, which he fears will alert the Indians to their presence. Later, two Apaches appear, and Todd challenges them to hand-to-hand combat, killing them and saving the group from an Indian attack. While recovering from her snakebite, Valinda begins to soften and offers Todd the key to his shackles, which he has worn around his wrists for the entire journey. Todd then hears Indian drums and discovers hundreds of Indians gathered. He tells the group that he will keep watch from a cliff, but at the sound of his signal, they must ride fast to the west. Believing it might be her last night alive, Jenny goes to sleep with Todd, who kisses her and then offers to share his life with her. The next morning, when a group of Cavalry scouts arrive, Todd deduces who the Indians are targeting. When the soldiers ask if they have seen Comanche Todd, the group stands by their new friend and says that Todd is "Mr. Putnam," husband of Jenny and father of Billy. Todd is disappointed to learn that there are only eight Cavalry men, as three hundred Indians have been tracking them and are ready to attack. When the Indians do attack, Todd and the soldiers manage to trick the Indians and make it out alive. During the battle, however, one of the soldiers sees Harper's sheriff's star, which Todd had taken from Harper as a memento. Now aware of Todd's true identity, the Cavalry men take him to Redrock Bluff, where Todd is tried by the Bible-reading General Howard, a Civil War hero and famed Indian fighter. Todd explains that he killed the four men in retaliation for the murder of his wife and sons. Then Jenny gives a speech about how Todd saved them all, and each of the adolescents recounts what Todd did for them. After Howard gives Jenny and Billy custody of Todd, the wagon train moves on to Tucson and the new family, Todd, Jenny and Billy, ride away. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.