The Plainsman (1937)

112-113 or 115 mins | Western | 1 January 1937

Full page view
HISTORY

The ending of the film following the poker game was missing from the viewed print. The conclusion of the plot summary was taken from the release dialogue script found in the Paramount Script Collection at the AMPAS Library. The film's opening narration states, "Among the men who thrust forward America's frontier were Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. The story that follows compresses many years, many lives, and widely separated events into one narrative--in an attempt to do justice to the courage of the plainsman of the West." The closing narration states: "It shall be as it was in the past.../Not with dreams,/but with strength and with courage/Shall a nation be molded to last." Wild Bill Hickok's well-deserved reputation as a gunfighter was established in an interview with Colonel George Ward Nichols published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1867. Hickok was a good shot and probably killed at least seven men. He was a scout in the Union Army during the Civil War and after the war, he became a marshal in Hays City, KS, and then in Abilene, KS. He appeared in a play with Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873, and in 1876, Hickok was shot in the back by Jack McCall during a poker game in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. For more biographical information about Buffalo Bill Cody, please see then entry above for Buffalo Bill , and for additional information on General George Armstrong Custer, please consult the entry below for They Died With Their Boots On .
       As reported in DV and HR , shooting on a three-acre set of ... More Less

The ending of the film following the poker game was missing from the viewed print. The conclusion of the plot summary was taken from the release dialogue script found in the Paramount Script Collection at the AMPAS Library. The film's opening narration states, "Among the men who thrust forward America's frontier were Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. The story that follows compresses many years, many lives, and widely separated events into one narrative--in an attempt to do justice to the courage of the plainsman of the West." The closing narration states: "It shall be as it was in the past.../Not with dreams,/but with strength and with courage/Shall a nation be molded to last." Wild Bill Hickok's well-deserved reputation as a gunfighter was established in an interview with Colonel George Ward Nichols published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1867. Hickok was a good shot and probably killed at least seven men. He was a scout in the Union Army during the Civil War and after the war, he became a marshal in Hays City, KS, and then in Abilene, KS. He appeared in a play with Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873, and in 1876, Hickok was shot in the back by Jack McCall during a poker game in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. For more biographical information about Buffalo Bill Cody, please see then entry above for Buffalo Bill , and for additional information on General George Armstrong Custer, please consult the entry below for They Died With Their Boots On .
       As reported in DV and HR , shooting on a three-acre set of Deadwood City in 1865 built by Paramount began on 21 Jul 1936. While DeMille directed interiors, he gave instructions to second unit director Arthur Rosson, who was on location, via telephone. DeMille had with him a ten-foot model of Rosson's location scenes, as well as charts marked with every camera set-up. The cavalry sequences were shot with the Wyoming National Guard at Pole Mountain, Wyoming, twenty-one miles east of Laramie. On 17 Jul 1936, HR reported that two guardsmen has been badly hurt the previous day while Rosson was shooting a charge scene. The scene of Custer's massacre was shot on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation at Lame Deer, Montana, where two thousand Indian actors were used as extras. Additional scenes were also shot in Birney, Montana. While location work continued in Montana, one production unit went on location at the Paramount ranch outside Los Angeles on 24 Jul 1936. According to a HR news item on 16 Jul 1936, DeMille engaged actor Edwin Maxwell to serve temporarily as dialogue director. According to modern sources, Paramount studio executives wanted "Wild Bill" to survive the card game shoot-out at the end of the film, but DeMille resisted. Modern sources list the following character names: Edgar Dearing ( A courier from Custer ), Edwin Maxwell ( Stanton, Secretary of War ) and Bruce Warren ( Purser of the "Lizzie Gill" ). Modern sources also add the following names to the cast: Francis Ford, Irving Bacon, John Hyams, Charles Stevens, Arthur Aylesworth, Douglas Wood, George Cleveland, Lona Andre, Leila McIntyre, Harry Stubbs, Davison Clark, Charles W. Hertzinger, William Humphries , Sidney Jarvis , Wadsworth Harris, Tex Driscoll, and Stanhope Wheatcroft. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Jul 36
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Jul 36
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Jul 36
p. 8.
Film Daily
24 Nov 36
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Nov 36
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
28 Nov 36
p. 66.
New York Times
14 Jan 37
p. 16.
Variety
20 Jan 37
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gail Sheridan
Arthur Singley
Bud Flanagan
Chuck Hamilton
Duke Lee
Ben F. Hendricks
Kenny Cooper
Captain William H. Royal
Edgar Deering
P. E. "Tiny" Newland
Bud Fine
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Cecil B. DeMille Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Assoc dir
Asst dir
Dial supv
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Material comp
Contr to scr const
Additional writing, uncredited
Additional writing, uncredited
Additional writing, uncredited
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orig mus by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
STAND INS
Stunt doubles
Stunt doubles
Stunt doubles
Stunt doubles
Stunt doubles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on stories by Courtney Ryley Cooper and the novel Wild Bill Hickok, the Prince of the Pistoleers by Frank J. Wilstach (Garden City, NY, 1934).
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 January 1937
Production Date:
Picture started 21 July 1936, closed 8 September 1936
picture reopened 13 September 1936, closed 23 September 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 January 1937
Copyright Number:
LP6847
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
112-113 or 115
Length(in feet):
10,154
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
2597
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At the close of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in the East while General George Custer fights the Indians in the West. As John Lattimer arrives in Leavenworth, Missouri, to sell seven-shot rifles to the Indians, Buffalo Bill Cody and his new wife Louisa are reunited with Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Following the massacre of half the garrison at Fort Piney by thousands of Sioux Indians, General Custer orders Cody to take ammunition to the fort, while Hickok goes after their chief, Yellow Hand. As Louisa confesses her pregnancy to Jane, Cheyenne Indians attack the Cody home and Jane is taken to the Cheyenne camp, where the Indians threaten to kill Hickok unless she tells them Cody's whereabouts. Jane, in love with Hickok, saves his life, but sacrifices Cody's men, who are ambushed by Cheyenne using Lattimer's rifles. As Hickok makes his way to the front, he sends Jane to alert Custer. Cody and Hickok, along with what is left of the men at Fort Piney, defend themselves against the Indians. As the fort's bugler dies, Custer's bugle is heard in the distance and the Indians retreat. Back in town, Hickok challenges John Lattimer to a draw, but is forced to kill three of Lattimer's men, former soldiers, instead. After Hickok follows Lattimer into the Black Hills, Custer orders Cody to bring him Hickok dead or alive for murdering soldiers. Weeks later, as Cody tracks Hickok, a lone Cheyenne Indian, carrying the U.S. 7th Cavalry's flag, tells of Custer's defeat. Meanwhile, Yellow Hand and Sitting Bull plot to extinguish the white man using Lattimer's rifles as ... +


At the close of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in the East while General George Custer fights the Indians in the West. As John Lattimer arrives in Leavenworth, Missouri, to sell seven-shot rifles to the Indians, Buffalo Bill Cody and his new wife Louisa are reunited with Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Following the massacre of half the garrison at Fort Piney by thousands of Sioux Indians, General Custer orders Cody to take ammunition to the fort, while Hickok goes after their chief, Yellow Hand. As Louisa confesses her pregnancy to Jane, Cheyenne Indians attack the Cody home and Jane is taken to the Cheyenne camp, where the Indians threaten to kill Hickok unless she tells them Cody's whereabouts. Jane, in love with Hickok, saves his life, but sacrifices Cody's men, who are ambushed by Cheyenne using Lattimer's rifles. As Hickok makes his way to the front, he sends Jane to alert Custer. Cody and Hickok, along with what is left of the men at Fort Piney, defend themselves against the Indians. As the fort's bugler dies, Custer's bugle is heard in the distance and the Indians retreat. Back in town, Hickok challenges John Lattimer to a draw, but is forced to kill three of Lattimer's men, former soldiers, instead. After Hickok follows Lattimer into the Black Hills, Custer orders Cody to bring him Hickok dead or alive for murdering soldiers. Weeks later, as Cody tracks Hickok, a lone Cheyenne Indian, carrying the U.S. 7th Cavalry's flag, tells of Custer's defeat. Meanwhile, Yellow Hand and Sitting Bull plot to extinguish the white man using Lattimer's rifles as Hickok and Cody meet in Deadwood to the stop Lattimer's shipment. There Hickok shoots Lattimer dead in self-defense and rounds up his co-conspirators in the Bella Union saloon, where they play poker. As Hickok plays his hand of black aces and eights, Jack McCall, who had earlier warned Lattimer about Hickok, shoots him in the back, killing him. McCall is then arrested by Merritt and Cody's troopers, and Merritt exonerates Cody. Calamity kisses the dead Hickok, saying, "That's one kiss you won't wipe off." +

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.