Shortly after the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, Captain Nathan Brittles, who is just six days from retirement, is ordered to escort the wife and the niece of his commanding officer through Indian territory to the next stagecoach stop. But the trip from the fort to Sudros Wells is not easy. Brittles is in constant fear of an attack by Cheyenne Indians, there is a white gun runner about, and the niece Olivia is wearing a yellow ribbon to signify that she has an admirer in the cavalry, leading two officers to compete for the lady’s affections … With its yellow stripes and harsh blue, this is the only film in John Ford’s “cavalry trilogy” to be shot in colour, and it’s no accident that the rebel chief’s name is “Red Shirt”. Landscape shots, including misty, incandescent sunsets in strong, expressive colours and highly dramatic scenes such as when the riders are caught in a thunderstorm, echo painter Frederic Remington’s (1861 – 1909) nostalgic depictions of the Old West. Director of photography Winton Hoch won the Oscar for best colour cinematography in 1950.
by John Ford
with John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar