Only the Valiant (1951)

104 or 107 mins | Western | 21 April 1951

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HISTORY

On 29 Aug 1947, LAEx reported that James Cagney would reunite for this film with the entire cast of the 1948 picture Time of Your Life , which included William Bendix, Wayne Morris, Broderick Crawford and Jeanne Cagney, and was also produced by William Cagney. Ward Bond was the only actor from Time of Your Life who was cast in Only the Valiant . Portions of the film were shot on location in Gallup, ... More Less

On 29 Aug 1947, LAEx reported that James Cagney would reunite for this film with the entire cast of the 1948 picture Time of Your Life , which included William Bendix, Wayne Morris, Broderick Crawford and Jeanne Cagney, and was also produced by William Cagney. Ward Bond was the only actor from Time of Your Life who was cast in Only the Valiant . Portions of the film were shot on location in Gallup, NM. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Mar 1951.
---
Daily Variety
6 Mar 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Mar 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 50
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
29 Aug 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 51
p. 749.
New York Times
14 Apr 51
p. 9.
Variety
7 Mar 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A William Cagney Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Interpreter
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Only the Valiant by Charles Marquis Warren (New York, 1943).
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 April 1951
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 April 1951
Production Date:
late July--early September 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Cagney Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 March 1951
Copyright Number:
LP818
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104 or 107
Length(in feet):
9,423
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14746
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New Mexico after the Civil War, a detachment of soldiers, including Capt. Richard Lance and scout Joe Harmony, arrive at Ft. Invincible, near a narrow pass frequently used by hostile Apache Indians. The fort has been burned to the ground and its soldiers killed. Although most of the Apaches have left the area, Lance manages to capture Tucsos, the chief. Harmony wants to kill Tucsos, but Lance, who is known for his rigid adherence to military rules, insists that they take their prisoner back to Ft. Winston. After they arrive at Ft. Winston, commanding officer Col. Drumm tells Lance that he, too, wishes Tucsos had been killed because the undermanned fort will not be able to fight off an Apache rescue effort. He then orders Lance to choose an officer to head a detail that will convey Tucsos to the better defended Ft. Grant. Knowing that the detail may never get through, Lance decides to lead it himself. He then visits Cathy Eversham, a captain's daughter, with whom he is in love. When he arrives, Cathy's other admirer, Lt. Bill Holloway, is already there. After Lance tells Cathy goodbye, Holloway proposes, but she refuses him because she is in love with Lance. Holloway affectionately kisses Cathy, and Lance, who is passing by, sees the kiss. When Drumm, who is very ill, learns that Lance intends to lead the detail, he orders him to send Holloway instead because Lance is the only officer he trusts to run the fort if he becomes too sick to do it himself. After Lance delivers the new orders to Holloway, Cathy is convinced that he ... +


In New Mexico after the Civil War, a detachment of soldiers, including Capt. Richard Lance and scout Joe Harmony, arrive at Ft. Invincible, near a narrow pass frequently used by hostile Apache Indians. The fort has been burned to the ground and its soldiers killed. Although most of the Apaches have left the area, Lance manages to capture Tucsos, the chief. Harmony wants to kill Tucsos, but Lance, who is known for his rigid adherence to military rules, insists that they take their prisoner back to Ft. Winston. After they arrive at Ft. Winston, commanding officer Col. Drumm tells Lance that he, too, wishes Tucsos had been killed because the undermanned fort will not be able to fight off an Apache rescue effort. He then orders Lance to choose an officer to head a detail that will convey Tucsos to the better defended Ft. Grant. Knowing that the detail may never get through, Lance decides to lead it himself. He then visits Cathy Eversham, a captain's daughter, with whom he is in love. When he arrives, Cathy's other admirer, Lt. Bill Holloway, is already there. After Lance tells Cathy goodbye, Holloway proposes, but she refuses him because she is in love with Lance. Holloway affectionately kisses Cathy, and Lance, who is passing by, sees the kiss. When Drumm, who is very ill, learns that Lance intends to lead the detail, he orders him to send Holloway instead because Lance is the only officer he trusts to run the fort if he becomes too sick to do it himself. After Lance delivers the new orders to Holloway, Cathy is convinced that he changed the orders to eliminate his rival. Several days later, the detail returns with Holloway's body. When Harmony reports that Holloway was tortured by the Apaches before he died, the entire fort turns against Lance, and Kebussyan, one of the survivors, tries to kill him. Harmony believes that Tucsos, who knows the fort is vulnerable, will attack soon, before reinforcements can arrive. To buy time, Lance convinces Drumm to allow him to lead a patrol to Ft. Invincible and try to hold the pass until an expected relief column of 400 soldiers arrives. For the patrol, Lance purposely picks misfits and those who hate him the most: Lt. Jerry Winters, who is dying of tuberculosis; Corp. Timothy Gilchrist, a drunk; Sgt. Ben Murdock, who hates Lance for blocking his promotion; Onstot, a deserter from the Confederate Army; Kebussyan; Harmony; Rutledge, who is motivated by revenge; and Saxton, a coward. At Ft. Invincible, Winters discovers that the cistern is dry, which means the men will have to survive on the water they carried with them. That night, the men mine the pass with dynamite. Over the next few days, several attempts are made on Lance's life. Then a mortally wounded Harmony returns to warn Lance that Tucsos has learned that there are only thirty-one men in the relief column, not the 400 who were expected. After Harmony dies, Lance tells the men that he picked them because he believed they were the most expendable and, at their request, details his reasons. While on sentry duty, Onstot and Murdock are captured, and Tucsos' men attack the fort. After the Apaches retreat, Lance sends Winters to intercept the relief column and redirect them to Ft. Invincible. As he leaves, Winters is wounded, but is able to continue. Lance then requests a meeting with Tucsos, and orders Gilchrist to set off the dynamite at his signal. Gilchrist is unable to comply because Rutledge has removed the fuse, hoping to kill Lance, and they lose the chance to destroy Tucsos. That night, during another assault, Rutledge is killed, and Kebussyan is wounded. The next morning, Lance and Kebussyan attempt to set a new fuse. Meanwhile, Tucsos, realizing how much Murdock and Onstot hate each other, decides to let them kill each other. When the Apaches discover Lance and Kebussyan in the pass, they attack them. Before he dies, Kebussyan holds off the Indians until Lance sets off the dynamite, blocking the pass almost completely. Only Lance, Gilchrist and Saxton are left alive, and they have no water. Once again, the Indians storm the fort. The situation appears to be hopeless, but just then the relief column of thirty-one soldiers arrives. The Indians turn their attack toward the new soldiers, who fire on them with a Gatling gun, which fires 350 rounds per minute. Faced with this new weapon, the Indians surrender. Tucsos manages to reach the fort, and after a struggle, Lance kills him with his own knife. When he returns to Ft. Winston, Lance learns that he has been made acting commander, as Drumm has left his post because of ill health. Later, Lance is reunited with Cathy, who now knows that he was not responsible for Holloway's death. +

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

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