The Last Frontier (1956)

97-98 mins | Western | January 1956

Director:

Anthony Mann

Producer:

William Fadiman

Cinematographer:

William C. Mellor

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Designer:

Robert Peterson

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Gilded Rooster . The title card of the viewed print reads: "Columbia Pictures Corporation presents Savage Wilderness (formerly titled Last Frontier )." According to modern sources, Savage Wilderness was the film's television release title. HR production charts list Kathryn Grant in the cast, but she did not appear in the released film, and her role was taken over by Anne Bancroft. Reviews noted that location shooting took place in Popocatepetl, Mexico.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, a scene in which Bancroft's character repeatedly stabbed an Indian was considered too brutal and was eliminated from the final film. The HR review noted that the film marked the second time that Manuel Donde, who plays "Red Cloud," had been made "to look like a lunkhead by the Columbia scenario department" even though the Sioux chief was a "Native American genius." For more information about Red Cloud, see the entry above for The Indian Fighter ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Gilded Rooster . The title card of the viewed print reads: "Columbia Pictures Corporation presents Savage Wilderness (formerly titled Last Frontier )." According to modern sources, Savage Wilderness was the film's television release title. HR production charts list Kathryn Grant in the cast, but she did not appear in the released film, and her role was taken over by Anne Bancroft. Reviews noted that location shooting took place in Popocatepetl, Mexico.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, a scene in which Bancroft's character repeatedly stabbed an Indian was considered too brutal and was eliminated from the final film. The HR review noted that the film marked the second time that Manuel Donde, who plays "Red Cloud," had been made "to look like a lunkhead by the Columbia scenario department" even though the Sioux chief was a "Native American genius." For more information about Red Cloud, see the entry above for The Indian Fighter . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Dec 1955.
---
Daily Variety
7 Dec 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Dec 55
p. 7.
Harrison's Reports
10 Dec 55
p. 198.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 55
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 55
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Dec 55
p. 706.
New York Times
8 Dec 55
p. 45.
The Exhibitor
28 Dec 55
pp. 4077-78.
Variety
14 Dec 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Gilded Rooster by Richard Emery Roberts (New York, 1947).
SONGS
"The Last Frontier," music by Lester Lee, lyrics by Ned Washington, sung by Rusty Draper
"Do They Miss Me at Home?" music by S. M. Grannis, lyrics by Mrs. Caroline A. Mason
"Me and My Dreams," music and lyrics by Morris Stoloff, Fred Karger, Allan Roberts and Lester Lee.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Gilded Rooster
Release Date:
January 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 December 1955
Production Date:
began late March 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 January 1956
Copyright Number:
LP5725
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
97-98
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17512
SYNOPSIS

In order to save their lives, a trio of rugged, Wyoming fur trappers--Jed Cooper, Gus and Mungo, an Indian--have to give up their horses to Chief Red Cloud and his band of Sioux Indians. Red Cloud explains that whites are no longer welcome in their territory because the "blue coats," members of the U.S. Cavalry, have been cutting down too many trees. Undaunted, the trappers march straight to Fort Shallan to get new horses, which they believe the Army rightfully owes to them. Capt. Riordan, the commanding officer, instead persuades them to take jobs as scouts, though Gus, the elder of the group who mistrusts progress and all civilizing efforts, fears they are walking into a trap. The trappers get drunk on whiskey, and while looking for more, Cooper barges into the home of Corinna Marston, the lovely wife of Col. Marston, who is away building the new Fort Medford. When Cooper informs her that her husband is a dead man if he is working in Red Cloud's territory, Corinna throws him out. Cooper then finds out from Riordan that Gus and Mungo were sent on a scouting mission in the area of Fort Medford and, furious, sets out to retrieve his friends. He finds Gus and Mungo camping out with Marston and his company, who fled the fort when it was burnt down by the Indians. Marston demands that Cooper return to the captain and bring back reinforcements, but Cooper refuses. Just then, the warring Indians arrive, and during the subsequent attack, Gus is injured. The surviving troops return to Fort Shallan, but Marston, who is a violent and bitter man, ... +


In order to save their lives, a trio of rugged, Wyoming fur trappers--Jed Cooper, Gus and Mungo, an Indian--have to give up their horses to Chief Red Cloud and his band of Sioux Indians. Red Cloud explains that whites are no longer welcome in their territory because the "blue coats," members of the U.S. Cavalry, have been cutting down too many trees. Undaunted, the trappers march straight to Fort Shallan to get new horses, which they believe the Army rightfully owes to them. Capt. Riordan, the commanding officer, instead persuades them to take jobs as scouts, though Gus, the elder of the group who mistrusts progress and all civilizing efforts, fears they are walking into a trap. The trappers get drunk on whiskey, and while looking for more, Cooper barges into the home of Corinna Marston, the lovely wife of Col. Marston, who is away building the new Fort Medford. When Cooper informs her that her husband is a dead man if he is working in Red Cloud's territory, Corinna throws him out. Cooper then finds out from Riordan that Gus and Mungo were sent on a scouting mission in the area of Fort Medford and, furious, sets out to retrieve his friends. He finds Gus and Mungo camping out with Marston and his company, who fled the fort when it was burnt down by the Indians. Marston demands that Cooper return to the captain and bring back reinforcements, but Cooper refuses. Just then, the warring Indians arrive, and during the subsequent attack, Gus is injured. The surviving troops return to Fort Shallan, but Marston, who is a violent and bitter man, is determined to return to the frontier with all available troops to teach Red Cloud a lesson. When Riordan refuses to participate, Marston pulls rank on him, and Cooper is sent to scout Red Cloud's village, reporting back that several tribes have joined forces with him. Marston insists on going out anyway, and Capt. Clarke, a doctor, tells Marston to recount to Riordan, Cooper and Corinna the story of Shiloh, a Civil War battle in which Marston sent 1,500 men to their deaths. After Corinna, upset, leaves the room, Cooper finds her, kisses her and takes her to his room, telling her that he wants to "make her his woman." Later, Marston brings his men out to scout Red Cloud's camp, and when he falls into a bear trap, Cooper refuses to release him until he promises to leave the chief alone. Marston refuses to capitulate, so Cooper returns to the fort, where Corinna and Riordan denounce his treatment of Marston. Cooper rescues Marston, who immediately orders the entire company attired. Marston attempts to deliver a rousing speech to the men, but is heckled by a drunken Cooper, who has donned a stolen Army coat. Cooper runs from the fort and jokingly calls on Red Cloud, and when he tries to return to the fort's gates, he is attacked by Indians. After Cooper makes it back to the fort, Marston urges his sergeant to go to Cooper's room and attack him. The two fight, and Cooper pushes the sergeant off the roof to his death. When Marston announces his intention to hang him for the "crime," Cooper flees. Riordan confines Marston to his quarters, having requested his arrest from the chief officer of the area, but when Mungo returns with the dispatch, Riordan learns that his request has been denied. Mungo leaves the fort and finds a disgruntled Cooper in the woods. The troops headed by Marston enter Red Cloud's territory, and Cooper watches from the safety of the trees as scores of camouflaged Indians lie in wait. When Gus is sent ahead to scout, however, Cooper shoots a brave as he is about to kill the trapper. In the fighting that ensues, both Gus and Marston are shot and killed, and Cooper tells the surviving troops to run back to Fort Shallan. There, artillery fire is used on the Indians, who finally retreat. Later, Cooper is made sergeant, and now that he is civilized enough to be her man, he takes his hat off to Corinna. +

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.