Saskatchewan (1954)

87 mins | Adventure | March 1954

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HISTORY

The opening credits include the following written statement: "The motion picture you are about to see was photographed in the locales where the actual events upon which it is based occurred...events that gravely threatened the peaceful development of Western Canada." Although the character portrayed by Richard Long is listed in the onscreen cast list as "Abbott," in the film he is called "Patrick J. Scanlon." Additionally J. Carrol Naish's character is listed as "Batoche," although other characters call him "Batouche."
       Universal press materials reported that Shelley Winters suffered an eye injury that forced director Raoul Walsh to shoot around her for several days, and later, Alan Ladd broke his finger, necessitating a splint which Walsh had to keep out of camera range. An Aug 1953 HR item adds Robert Hoy to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a Mar 1953 HR news item and studio press materials, the film was shot almost entirely in locations in Canada, including Banff, Bow Lake Crowfoot Glacier, and Stoney Reserve, a Canadian Indian ... More Less

The opening credits include the following written statement: "The motion picture you are about to see was photographed in the locales where the actual events upon which it is based occurred...events that gravely threatened the peaceful development of Western Canada." Although the character portrayed by Richard Long is listed in the onscreen cast list as "Abbott," in the film he is called "Patrick J. Scanlon." Additionally J. Carrol Naish's character is listed as "Batoche," although other characters call him "Batouche."
       Universal press materials reported that Shelley Winters suffered an eye injury that forced director Raoul Walsh to shoot around her for several days, and later, Alan Ladd broke his finger, necessitating a splint which Walsh had to keep out of camera range. An Aug 1953 HR item adds Robert Hoy to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a Mar 1953 HR news item and studio press materials, the film was shot almost entirely in locations in Canada, including Banff, Bow Lake Crowfoot Glacier, and Stoney Reserve, a Canadian Indian reservation. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Feb 1954.
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Feb 54
p. 10.
Harrison's Reports
27 Feb 54
p. 34.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 54
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Feb 54
p. 2197.
New York Times
11 Mar 54
p. 26.
The Exhibitor
24 Feb 54
pp. 3703-04.
Variety
24 Feb 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Tech adv
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 March 1954
Production Date:
3 August--mid September 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
29 March 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3256
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,832
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16782
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Canada's Saskatchewan River country, in the spring of 1877, North West Mounted Police officer Thomas O'Rourke and Cajou, his Cree Indian friend, are returning from outpost duty to headquarters when they encounter a burned-out wagon train. The sole survivor, Grace Markey, tells them that the train was attacked by Indians, whose tribe she cannot identify. Although she wants to continue to another destination, O'Rourke decides to take her to the Mountie fort in Saskatchewan. En route, Grace steals a horse and rides off, only to be chased by four Indians. O'Rourke and Cajou rescue her and shoot two of the Indians, whom they identify as American Sioux, a group not seen in the area for many years. When they reach the fort, O'Rourke is greeted by Batouche, a French Canadian scout, who tells him that some of Chief Crazy Horse's Sioux have crossed the border into Canada after massacring General Custer at Little Bighorn. Benton, the fort's new commander, who is recently arrived from England, is highly critical of O'Rourke's brotherly friendship with Cajou. Benton has confiscated the Cree's guns and powder, which they need to hunt their food, and as a result, talk of an alliance between the Cree and the Sioux erupts. When O'Rourke visits Cree chief Dark Cloud, an old friend, Cajou decides to rejoin his people in their struggle and breaks his friendship with O'Rourke. Later, after U.S. Marshal Carl Smith arrives at the fort looking for Grace, who is wanted in Montana for killing his brother, O'Rourke turns Grace over to him. When Benton receives orders to close the fort and transfer all troops to reinforce Fort Walsh on the Canadian-American border, Smith ... +


In Canada's Saskatchewan River country, in the spring of 1877, North West Mounted Police officer Thomas O'Rourke and Cajou, his Cree Indian friend, are returning from outpost duty to headquarters when they encounter a burned-out wagon train. The sole survivor, Grace Markey, tells them that the train was attacked by Indians, whose tribe she cannot identify. Although she wants to continue to another destination, O'Rourke decides to take her to the Mountie fort in Saskatchewan. En route, Grace steals a horse and rides off, only to be chased by four Indians. O'Rourke and Cajou rescue her and shoot two of the Indians, whom they identify as American Sioux, a group not seen in the area for many years. When they reach the fort, O'Rourke is greeted by Batouche, a French Canadian scout, who tells him that some of Chief Crazy Horse's Sioux have crossed the border into Canada after massacring General Custer at Little Bighorn. Benton, the fort's new commander, who is recently arrived from England, is highly critical of O'Rourke's brotherly friendship with Cajou. Benton has confiscated the Cree's guns and powder, which they need to hunt their food, and as a result, talk of an alliance between the Cree and the Sioux erupts. When O'Rourke visits Cree chief Dark Cloud, an old friend, Cajou decides to rejoin his people in their struggle and breaks his friendship with O'Rourke. Later, after U.S. Marshal Carl Smith arrives at the fort looking for Grace, who is wanted in Montana for killing his brother, O'Rourke turns Grace over to him. When Benton receives orders to close the fort and transfer all troops to reinforce Fort Walsh on the Canadian-American border, Smith chooses to accompany them. On the journey they encounter a Cree hunting party, and when an Indian takes Smith's rifle in order to hunt for food, Smith shoots him. This angers O'Rourke and he and Smith fight. Later, O'Rourke tells Grace that he was orphaned as a boy and reared by Cajou's father. Smith then intimates to Grace that he could be "persuaded" not to take her back to Montana, but she declines his offer. As the troops cross the Saskatchewan River, they are attacked by Sioux and, to keep their ammunition from falling into Indian hands, explode all of it. Later, when O'Rourke refuses to proceed by the route Benton has chosen, Benton orders him arrested. The others side with O'Rourke, however, and Benton promises that they will all be court-martialed and hanged. O'Rourke then organizes the journey by a safer, though slightly longer, route. From a distance, they see a large number of Sioux and Cree, led by Dark Cloud and Cajou, going to a powwow. After O'Rourke and Smith have a dispute about a wounded officer who is slowing them down, O'Rourke threatens to take Smith prisoner. The troops eventually reach a trapper's cabin, where they expect to acquire boats to finish the last part of the journey, only to find that the Sioux have burned the cabin, killed the trapper and destroyed the boats. O'Rourke and Batouche spy on the Sioux camp on the lake shore and discover Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse preparing for a powwow. At night the Mounties steal some of the Indians' canoes and resume their journey. Smith offers Grace her freedom if she will go away with him and, after O'Rourke breaks up a struggle between them, Smith admits that he killed his own brother. Smith draws a gun on the unarmed O'Rourke, but Benton shoots first and kills him. However, the gunshot alerts the Indians and they pursue the whites, but O'Rourke prepares an ambush, during which most of the Indians are killed. After sending the others on, O'Rourke goes to talk with Dark Cloud, not as a Mountie, but as a friend. Dark Cloud informs him that the Sioux have told him that, unless the Cree join forces with them, they will make war on them. Although O'Rourke offers to negotiate with Superintendent Banks at Fort Walsh for the return of their guns, Banks and Benton have O'Rourke arrested and imprisoned with the other men. After Banks and Benton leave with a large contingent to meet with the Sioux, Cajou sneaks into the fort to warn O'Rourke that the Sioux plan to attack the fort, then wage war on the Cree. Cajou and Grace, who is in love with O'Rourke, free him and the others, and they leave the fort with wagons full of guns and ammunition for the Cree. Meanwhile, Banks, Benton and the troops come under attack by the Sioux and are outnumbered, but after O'Rourke, his men and the Cree ride to their rescue, the Sioux retreat. Later, Dark Cloud thanks Banks and Benton for saving his people and for bringing peace. Benton apologizes to O'Rourke, withdrawing his charges against him and his men, then orders him to escort Grace to Montana and help her establish her innocence. +

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.