Pony Soldier (1952)

81-82 mins | Drama | November 1952

Full page view
HISTORY

Voice-over narration by Tyrone Power, as "Constable Duncan MacDonald," is heard intermittently throughout the film. He states that the film is based on a true story, as is noted by several reviews. Footage of the 1950s North West Mounted Police is shown at the end of the picture, along with narration by Michael Rennie describing the dedication and tradition of the Mounties during the previous seventy-five years. In Jun 1951, HR announced that Gary Merrill and Debra Paget would be starring in the picture, and on 15 Dec 1951, LAT reported that Dale Robertson had been cast as the film's star. According to a 25 Mar 1952 HR news item, Richard Boone was originally cast as "Standing Bear," but was replaced by Stuart Randall after falling ill with pneumonia.
       HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Frank McGrath, Victor Wood, Phil Schumacker, Billy Wilkerson , Joe Molina, Opal Wright, John Fritz, George Deer and Titus Spencer. An Apr 1952 HR news item stated that Murray Steckler, Power's stand-in, had been cast in the film as a Mountie, but his appearance in the finished picture has not been confirmed. Contemporary sources refer to Muriel Landers' character as "Poks-ki," but in the film she is called "Small Face." Although a late Dec 1951 HR news item announced that the picture would be shot on location in Montana, the film's location sites were the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, AZ and Red Rock Canyon, ... More Less

Voice-over narration by Tyrone Power, as "Constable Duncan MacDonald," is heard intermittently throughout the film. He states that the film is based on a true story, as is noted by several reviews. Footage of the 1950s North West Mounted Police is shown at the end of the picture, along with narration by Michael Rennie describing the dedication and tradition of the Mounties during the previous seventy-five years. In Jun 1951, HR announced that Gary Merrill and Debra Paget would be starring in the picture, and on 15 Dec 1951, LAT reported that Dale Robertson had been cast as the film's star. According to a 25 Mar 1952 HR news item, Richard Boone was originally cast as "Standing Bear," but was replaced by Stuart Randall after falling ill with pneumonia.
       HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Frank McGrath, Victor Wood, Phil Schumacker, Billy Wilkerson , Joe Molina, Opal Wright, John Fritz, George Deer and Titus Spencer. An Apr 1952 HR news item stated that Murray Steckler, Power's stand-in, had been cast in the film as a Mountie, but his appearance in the finished picture has not been confirmed. Contemporary sources refer to Muriel Landers' character as "Poks-ki," but in the film she is called "Small Face." Although a late Dec 1951 HR news item announced that the picture would be shot on location in Montana, the film's location sites were the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, AZ and Red Rock Canyon, CA. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Nov 1952.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
25 Dec 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 52
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 52
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Feb 52
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 52
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 52
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Nov 52
p. 1597.
New York Times
7 Dec 1952.
---
Variety
5 Nov 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Carpenter
STAND INS
Stand-in for Tyrone Power
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Mounted Patrol" by Garnett Weston in The Saturday Evening Post (7 Apr--14 Apr 1951).
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1952
Production Date:
early March--late May 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
13 November 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2244
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15863
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1876, the three-year-old North West Mounted Police service struggles to keep the peace with a limited number of men. Among the Mounties' many problems is the Cree Indian tribe led by Standing Bear, who have deserted their Canadian reservation to cross the border into Montana and hunt American buffalo. Several of the Cree are killed by the American cavalry, whom they call "Long Knives," and in retaliation, the Cree engage in a fierce battle with the cavalry. The Indians are defeated, and despite the protests of hotheaded war chief Konah, Standing Bear orders the tribe to return to Canada. To ensure their safety, Standing Bear instructs Konah to capture white hostages, so Konah and his men kidnap Emerald Neeley after killing her father and brother. The Cree also capture the Neeleys' scout, Jess Calhoun, and the encounter is witnessed by half-breed trader Natayo Smith. Natayo decides to apprise the Mounties of the occurrence, and while Natayo is enroute, Constable Duncan MacDonald, who has only recently transferred to Ft. Walsh, reports to Inspector Frazer. Frazer is angered by Duncan's admission that he let his suspect escape, and when Natayo tells Frazer about the Cree and their captives, Frazer assigns Duncan to the case. Natayo reluctantly agrees to act as Duncan's scout, and during their journey, Natayo is terrified when he sees a mirage of a lake appearing in the distant mountains. Duncan explains the phenomenon, however, and calms him. Soon after, Natayo and Duncan are surrounded by a Cree scouting party and are taken to the tribe's camp. Although Natayo is nervous about the size of the tribe, Duncan ... +


In 1876, the three-year-old North West Mounted Police service struggles to keep the peace with a limited number of men. Among the Mounties' many problems is the Cree Indian tribe led by Standing Bear, who have deserted their Canadian reservation to cross the border into Montana and hunt American buffalo. Several of the Cree are killed by the American cavalry, whom they call "Long Knives," and in retaliation, the Cree engage in a fierce battle with the cavalry. The Indians are defeated, and despite the protests of hotheaded war chief Konah, Standing Bear orders the tribe to return to Canada. To ensure their safety, Standing Bear instructs Konah to capture white hostages, so Konah and his men kidnap Emerald Neeley after killing her father and brother. The Cree also capture the Neeleys' scout, Jess Calhoun, and the encounter is witnessed by half-breed trader Natayo Smith. Natayo decides to apprise the Mounties of the occurrence, and while Natayo is enroute, Constable Duncan MacDonald, who has only recently transferred to Ft. Walsh, reports to Inspector Frazer. Frazer is angered by Duncan's admission that he let his suspect escape, and when Natayo tells Frazer about the Cree and their captives, Frazer assigns Duncan to the case. Natayo reluctantly agrees to act as Duncan's scout, and during their journey, Natayo is terrified when he sees a mirage of a lake appearing in the distant mountains. Duncan explains the phenomenon, however, and calms him. Soon after, Natayo and Duncan are surrounded by a Cree scouting party and are taken to the tribe's camp. Although Natayo is nervous about the size of the tribe, Duncan explains his mission to Standing Bear, and his insights into the Cree's current situation convinces the chief that he has "powerful medicine." Duncan, who is called "Pony Soldier" by the Indians, requests that he be granted a council with the tribe's elders, then talks with Emerald and Jess while his request is considered. Emerald, who is delighted to see Duncan, is baffled by Jess's nervousness at the lawman's presence. Although the bigoted Jess wants to use force to escape, Duncan insists that only by reasoning with the Indians will they be freed. Duncan then waits with Natayo and befriends an orphaned young boy named Comes Running. The boy tells Duncan that when two tribes make peace, it is customary for them to adopt sons from each other's peoples, and Natayo warns Duncan that Comes Running wants to be adopted by him. Their discussion is interrupted by an announcement that Konah has given Emerald to his brother Shemawgun as a wife, and the next day, when Duncan protests the arrangement, Standing Bear informs him that his request for a council meeting has been denied. Realizing that he has been defeated, Duncan is searching for another plan when a mirage of a steamboat appears on the horizon. Capitalizing on the Indians' fear, Duncan explains that the Great White Queen of Canada has sent this vision to express her anger with them. The elders agree to the council, during which Duncan promises that the Mounties will enforce the same laws for Indians and white people, and that the Indians will not go hungry if they return home. Standing Bear agrees to return and to free the captives, which enrages Konah. After the meeting, Duncan agrees to adopt Comes Running and renames him Duncan Comes Running MacDonald. Seeing Natayo and Jess exchange an uncomfortable glance, Duncan asks Natayo about the captive, and Natayo reveals that Jess's real name is Johnny Pierce, and that he is a convicted bank robber who escaped from a Winnipeg jail. Duncan then goes to the captives' tent and there sees Shemawgun, who asserts that he still intends to claim Emerald as his bride. The next morning, when Shemawgun comes for Emerald, Jess kills him during a fierce fight. Jess is captured by the tribe as he tries to escape, and Konah prepares to execute him. Duncan insists that Jess be turned over to the proper authorities, and Standing Bear, believing that Duncan will insure that Jess is punished, orders Konah to release Jess. Jess then attempts to escape, but Duncan stops him by shooting him in the shoulder. While Duncan and Standing Bear discuss the upcoming march back to Canada, Konah and his men kidnap Emerald. The chief and the pony soldier join forces to find the renegades, and are followed by Comes Running. Believing that Emerald has brought "bad medicine" to the tribe, Konah prepares to burn her alive, but Standing Bear and Duncan arrive in time to save her. The pair triumph over the warriors, and Comes Running kills Konah with an arrow just as he is about to shoot Duncan. With their problems solved, Standing Bear and Duncan lead the tribe back to Canada, and Comes Running proudly rides beside his new father. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.