The Indian Fighter (1955)

88 mins | Western | December 1955

Director:

Andre DeToth

Producer:

William Schorr

Cinematographer:

Wilfrid M. Cline

Editor:

Richard Cahoon

Production Designer:

Wiard B. Ihnen

Production Company:

Bryna Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The picture, the first one produced by Kirk Douglas' independent company, Bryna Productions, Inc.(named after Douglas' mother), was filmed entirely in Bend, OR. A written onscreen acknowledgment at the end of the film thanks the Bend, OR Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. National Forestry Service for their cooperation. Although an article in AmCin noted that the film was shot by Frank Daugherty, Wilfrid M. Cline is credited onscreen as director of photography; the extent of Daugherty's contribution to the released film, if any, has not been determined. According to a Feb 1955 DV news item, the film was to be based on a story by John Loring , but the extent of Loring's contribution to the released film has not been determined.
       Kirk Douglas' wife, Anne Buydens, was the picture's casting supervisor. Diana Douglas, who portrays "Susan Rogers," was Douglas' former wife; The Indian Fighter was their first film together. According to a 20 Oct 1955 HR news item, Diana Douglas was "upped to co-star billing...as a result of reaction cards received at [a] sneak preview held recently in Inglewood." Diana and Kirk Douglas, along with their son Michael and grandson Cameron, also appeared together in the 2003, Fred Schepisi-directed film It Runs in the Family . The Indian Fighter marked the screen debut of international fashion model Elsa Martinelli. According to a 9 Nov 1955 HR news item, the title song, by Franz Waxman and Irving Gordon, was written in both English and Sioux.
       During the years that followed the Civil War, many whites entered the Western mining territories of Colorado, Montana and California ... More Less

The picture, the first one produced by Kirk Douglas' independent company, Bryna Productions, Inc.(named after Douglas' mother), was filmed entirely in Bend, OR. A written onscreen acknowledgment at the end of the film thanks the Bend, OR Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. National Forestry Service for their cooperation. Although an article in AmCin noted that the film was shot by Frank Daugherty, Wilfrid M. Cline is credited onscreen as director of photography; the extent of Daugherty's contribution to the released film, if any, has not been determined. According to a Feb 1955 DV news item, the film was to be based on a story by John Loring , but the extent of Loring's contribution to the released film has not been determined.
       Kirk Douglas' wife, Anne Buydens, was the picture's casting supervisor. Diana Douglas, who portrays "Susan Rogers," was Douglas' former wife; The Indian Fighter was their first film together. According to a 20 Oct 1955 HR news item, Diana Douglas was "upped to co-star billing...as a result of reaction cards received at [a] sneak preview held recently in Inglewood." Diana and Kirk Douglas, along with their son Michael and grandson Cameron, also appeared together in the 2003, Fred Schepisi-directed film It Runs in the Family . The Indian Fighter marked the screen debut of international fashion model Elsa Martinelli. According to a 9 Nov 1955 HR news item, the title song, by Franz Waxman and Irving Gordon, was written in both English and Sioux.
       During the years that followed the Civil War, many whites entered the Western mining territories of Colorado, Montana and California by way of the Bozeman Trail, which passed through Teton Sioux land. Red Cloud and his Oglala Tetons, along with other Teton bands, increased their raids on white migrants and military patrols. When the Army was ordered to build more forts to protect the trail, Red Cloud launched a two-year campaign against them. The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty led to the evacuation of the forts in exchange for the cessation of these attacks, after which the Sioux burned the posts down. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 Aug 55
pp. 474-75, 488-89.
Box Office
24 Dec 1955.
---
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1955.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Dec 55
p. 8.
Harrison's Reports
24 Dec 55
p. 207.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1955
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1955
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 55
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1955
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1955
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Dec 55
p. 713.
New York Times
22 Dec 55
p. 20.
The Exhibitor
28 Dec 55
p. 4079.
Variety
21 Dec 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Cast supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Indian Fighter" and "I Give It All to You," words and music by Irving Gordon and Franz Waxman.
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1955
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 21 December 1955
Production Date:
23 May--27 June 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Bryna Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5663
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
print by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
88
Length(in feet):
7,917
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17674
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Johnny Hawks, a frontier scout who fought for the Confederacy in the recently ended Civil War, returns to the land of the Sioux, where his old friend, Chief Red Cloud, has been threatening a newly constructed fort along the trail to Oregon. Red Cloud's brother, Grey Wolf, greets Johnny with distrust, saying "There can be no friendship between red man and white." Red Cloud, although inviting Johnny to stay the night, is also suspicious, and Johnny soon discovers the reason for the chief's anger: With the discovery of gold on Sioux lands, white men have been giving his people whiskey in exchange for the precious metal. Fearing that gold will bring a flood of white men into Sioux territory, thereby devastating the land, Red Cloud proclaims that any Sioux who reveals the location of the gold or engages in secret deals with whites will be executed. As Johnny washes himself in the stream by the village, he observes that Red Cloud's daughter Onahti, whom he had known as a child, has grown into a beautiful woman. He grabs and kisses her, letting her go only after she threatens him with a knife. During the night, two men who are traveling with the wagon train Johnny has been hired to guide through Sioux territory, Wes Todd and his partner Chivington, attempt to bribe two Indians out of their gold with whiskey. When one of the Indians loudly refuses, Todd shoots him, but the village is awakened and the killer is caught. Todd blames the shooting on Chivington, who has escaped, but Grey Wolf prepares to burn the murderer alive. Johnny asks Red Cloud ... +


Johnny Hawks, a frontier scout who fought for the Confederacy in the recently ended Civil War, returns to the land of the Sioux, where his old friend, Chief Red Cloud, has been threatening a newly constructed fort along the trail to Oregon. Red Cloud's brother, Grey Wolf, greets Johnny with distrust, saying "There can be no friendship between red man and white." Red Cloud, although inviting Johnny to stay the night, is also suspicious, and Johnny soon discovers the reason for the chief's anger: With the discovery of gold on Sioux lands, white men have been giving his people whiskey in exchange for the precious metal. Fearing that gold will bring a flood of white men into Sioux territory, thereby devastating the land, Red Cloud proclaims that any Sioux who reveals the location of the gold or engages in secret deals with whites will be executed. As Johnny washes himself in the stream by the village, he observes that Red Cloud's daughter Onahti, whom he had known as a child, has grown into a beautiful woman. He grabs and kisses her, letting her go only after she threatens him with a knife. During the night, two men who are traveling with the wagon train Johnny has been hired to guide through Sioux territory, Wes Todd and his partner Chivington, attempt to bribe two Indians out of their gold with whiskey. When one of the Indians loudly refuses, Todd shoots him, but the village is awakened and the killer is caught. Todd blames the shooting on Chivington, who has escaped, but Grey Wolf prepares to burn the murderer alive. Johnny asks Red Cloud if he may take the prisoner to the fort, where government officials will bring him to justice, but Grey Wolf forces Johnny to fight for him. Johnny proves the stronger fighter, and as he rides to the fort with the prisoner, Todd admits that he and Chivington were after gold. When Johnny suggests that he knows where the gold is hidden, Todd invites him to become his partner. At the fort, Chivington has stirred the soldiers and settlers into a frenzy by claiming that Todd was scalped in an unprovoked attack. Todd soon appears in the saloon unharmed, and Capt. Trask has both men locked up. Johnny, who is respected as a knowledgeable Indian fighter, persuades Trask to meet with Red Cloud, and on the following day, the chief and his warriors are given a formal welcome. After Red Cloud signs a treaty, the fort's inhabitants celebrate with a spirited dance. Johnny dances with Susan Rogers, a widow whose little son Tommy is as fascinated with the Indians as the widow is with Johnny. The next morning, Johnny leads a train of about twenty wagons toward the Oregon territory, where settlers have been promised free land. Todd and Chivington, having been released by the captain, ride along, as does a photographer who had apprenticed with Matthew Brady during the war. Sitting apart from the singers around the campfire that night, Susan and Johnny talk, and she suggests that he accompany them to Oregon as her husband. Johnny protests that he is not fit for marriage, and when he walks away, farmer Will Crabtree tries his hand at wooing Susan. The following days take the wagon train deep into Sioux territory, and the travelers are unaware that Johnny has brought them there so that he may visit Onahti. Chivington tries to follow Johnny, thinking that the scout will head for the hidden gold, but Johnny sees him and slips away undetected. While Johnny makes love to Onahti, a group of Indians visit the camp intending to trade goods with the settlers. Nervous at first, the white travelers finally barter with the Sioux, but Todd and Chivington ply the feeble-minded Crazy Bear with so much whiskey that he reveals the location of the gold. Grey Wolf hears this, and as he angrily approaches, Todd stabs him. Chivington then shoots a white bystander, after which Todd shouts that the Indians have attacked the camp. Todd and Chivington send the settlers in a panic back toward the fort, while they ride off in search of the gold. When Johnny returns to camp, he finds Grey Wolf's body and then pursues the departed wagon train. Will and the other settlers assume Johnny had led them into a trap, and as he rides into the fort, they and Trask accuse him of betrayal. The men intend to lynch Johnny, but Trask orders them to prepare for the coming battle. Nevertheless, Johnny's admission that he abandoned his post to see a woman infuriates the captain, and he refuses to let Johnny search for Todd and Chivington. Red Cloud sends his warriors to attack the fort, and before nightfall, the Indians set fire to the wooden defenses and kill many soldiers. Certain that the fort will be obliterated in the morning, Johnny steals away and finds Onahti. Arguing that if the massacre is not prevented, the two of them will have no life together, he finally convinces her to lead him to the hidden gold. There he finds Todd and Chivington preparing to set off some dynamite. Johnny wants to deliver them to Red Cloud, but Todd jumps him, thereby setting off an explosion that kills Chivington. Todd tries to escape, but Onahti wounds him, and the three ride back to the village. Intent on avenging his brother's death, Red Cloud has Todd shot with a flaming arrow and then threatens to kill his daughter for revealing the tribe's secret. Johnny then declares that he loves Onahti. Back at the fort, the defenders prepare for battle, and they are surprised and greatly relieved when the approaching Indians suddenly turn away. With peace restored, the wagon train passes uneventfully through Sioux territory, but Johnny remains behind with Onahti. +

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.