The Plainsman (1966)

92 mins | Western | September 1966

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HISTORY

A made-for-television remake of the 1937 Paramount Pictures film, The Plainsman (see entry), was announced in a 7 Aug 1963 DV news item. Brian Keith was set to star and Howard Christie was set to produce the ninety-minute “pilot” film for Revue Productions, to be aired by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). On 2 Oct 1963, DV stated that Revue-Universal had completed an hour-long pilot, in which Robert Culp co-starred. However, since the pilot had been “delivered too late for the selling season,” an additional half hour of footage had been shot, and a new plan was in the works to release it as a seventy-five-minute theatrical feature. Nearly two years later, the 29 Jun 1965 DV reported that Universal Television and Richard E. Lyons would produce a two-hour telefilm, based on 1937’s The Plainsman, to be aired by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), with a concurrent theatrical release in Europe. Lyons was hoping to re-team actors Glenn Ford and Burt Kennedy, with whom he had recently collaborated on 1965’s The Rounders (see entry), the 3 Aug 1965 DV noted. Don Murray was ultimately signed to star, as announced in the 21 Sep 1965 LAT.
       Principal photography was underway as of early Oct 1965, according to a 7 Oct 1965 DV brief, which stated that the first two weeks of shooting would take place in Kanab, UT, followed by two weeks at Universal’s Los Angeles, CA, studio. The 31 Dec 1965 DV cited a production budget of around $1 million. According to a 19 Jan 1966 DV item, ...

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A made-for-television remake of the 1937 Paramount Pictures film, The Plainsman (see entry), was announced in a 7 Aug 1963 DV news item. Brian Keith was set to star and Howard Christie was set to produce the ninety-minute “pilot” film for Revue Productions, to be aired by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). On 2 Oct 1963, DV stated that Revue-Universal had completed an hour-long pilot, in which Robert Culp co-starred. However, since the pilot had been “delivered too late for the selling season,” an additional half hour of footage had been shot, and a new plan was in the works to release it as a seventy-five-minute theatrical feature. Nearly two years later, the 29 Jun 1965 DV reported that Universal Television and Richard E. Lyons would produce a two-hour telefilm, based on 1937’s The Plainsman, to be aired by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), with a concurrent theatrical release in Europe. Lyons was hoping to re-team actors Glenn Ford and Burt Kennedy, with whom he had recently collaborated on 1965’s The Rounders (see entry), the 3 Aug 1965 DV noted. Don Murray was ultimately signed to star, as announced in the 21 Sep 1965 LAT.
       Principal photography was underway as of early Oct 1965, according to a 7 Oct 1965 DV brief, which stated that the first two weeks of shooting would take place in Kanab, UT, followed by two weeks at Universal’s Los Angeles, CA, studio. The 31 Dec 1965 DV cited a production budget of around $1 million. According to a 19 Jan 1966 DV item, a $750,000 budget had initially been planned, but the picture was ultimately brought in for $1.1 million.
       The 1 Dec 1965 Var reported that The Plainsman was scheduled to air on CBS on 10 Feb 1966. Soon after, a news item in the 19 Jan 1966 Var indicated that CBS and Universal-MCA had decided to pull the film from the television slot and give it a theatrical release, instead. Universal agreed to create a one-hour pilot from the footage as well, for consideration by CBS as a potential television program. In place of The Plainsman, Universal offered its 1950 picture, Harvey (see entry), to air in the freed time slot. Var noted it was the second time Universal had pulled a made-for-television movie to give it a theatrical release, after 1964’s The Killers; although, in the latter case, the network (NBC) had rejected the film due to violence. The 26 Jan 1966 LAT claimed that Universal chief Lew Wasserman had liked a preview of The Plainsman so much, he had suggested making it a theatrical release.
       The Plainsman marked the feature film acting debut of Emily Banks. Items in various Oct 1965 issues of DV named the following as cast members: Richard Alden ; Bernice Dalton; and Victor Jory (in the role of “Black Kettle,” which was ultimately played by Simon Oakland).

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1963
p. 8
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1963
p. 1
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1965
p. 16
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1965
p. 3
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1965
p. 2
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1965
p. 15
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1965
p. 9
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1965
p. 2
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1965
p. 14
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1966
p. 1, 10
Daily Variety
26 May 1966
p. 3
Los Angeles Times
21 Sep 1965
Section C, p. 15
Los Angeles Times
19 Jan 1966
Section D, p. 13
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1966
Section D, p. 11
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 11
Los Angeles Times
24 Dec 1966
p. 13
New York Times
22 Oct 1965
---
New York Times
21 Nov 1965
---
New York Times
19 Nov 1966
---
Variety
1 Dec 1965
p. 29
Variety
19 Jan 1966
p. 35
Variety
2 Feb 1966
p. 28
Variety
28 Sep 1966
p. 9
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Col coordinator
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
John McCarthy
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Johnny Williams
Mus score
Mus supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the screenplay for the film The Plainsman written by Waldemar Young, Harold Lamb and Lynn Riggs (Paramount, 1937).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1966
Premiere Information:
Detroit opening: week of 27 Sep 1966; New York opening: 18 Nov 1966
Production Date:
began early Oct 1965
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures
1 October 1966
LP35476
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Duration(in mins):
92
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Wild Bill Hickok is ambushed by a band of Cheyenne Indians headed by Crazy Knife. Chief Black Kettle intercedes, and Wild Bill is allowed to leave, but without his horse and boots. After hitching a ride on a stage driven by Calamity Jane, he reports to Army Lieutenant Stiles that the Indians now have repeater rifles. The inexperienced officer, however, treats the intelligence with indifference. Later, at the local saloon, Wild Bill meets his old friend Buffalo Bill Cody and Cody's new bride, Louisa. After they have parted, Wild Bill catches Lattimer, a stranger, cheating at poker and forces him to leave. Soon after, Wild Bill and Cody are captured by Indians armed with repeater rifles, and Calamity also is taken prisoner by Crazy Knife. During his captivity Wild Bill learns that the repeater rifles are being supplied by Lattimer. Consequently, when Calamity and Wild Bill are rescued, Lattimer is arrested and delivered to the sheriff. As Col. George Custer takes over the Army post, Calamity declares her undying love for Wild ...

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Wild Bill Hickok is ambushed by a band of Cheyenne Indians headed by Crazy Knife. Chief Black Kettle intercedes, and Wild Bill is allowed to leave, but without his horse and boots. After hitching a ride on a stage driven by Calamity Jane, he reports to Army Lieutenant Stiles that the Indians now have repeater rifles. The inexperienced officer, however, treats the intelligence with indifference. Later, at the local saloon, Wild Bill meets his old friend Buffalo Bill Cody and Cody's new bride, Louisa. After they have parted, Wild Bill catches Lattimer, a stranger, cheating at poker and forces him to leave. Soon after, Wild Bill and Cody are captured by Indians armed with repeater rifles, and Calamity also is taken prisoner by Crazy Knife. During his captivity Wild Bill learns that the repeater rifles are being supplied by Lattimer. Consequently, when Calamity and Wild Bill are rescued, Lattimer is arrested and delivered to the sheriff. As Col. George Custer takes over the Army post, Calamity declares her undying love for Wild Bill.

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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.