Directed by John Ford
USA 1961


  This rather atypical late (1961) John Ford western stars James Stewart as a cynical marshal hired to negotiate with the Comanches for white prisoners and Richard Widmark as a cavalry officer who comes along with him. Not a film with any of the resonance of The Searchers, despite a certain similarity in theme, but interesting nonetheless.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule at the Chicago Reader located HERE.


Stewart is the Marshall on a mission to rescue some whites captured by the Comanche. In it for the money rather than any sense of justice, he just wants to get the job over and done with. However, accompanied by cavalry officer Widmark, he is forced to re-evaluate his philosophy when matters come to a head. Not Ford at his best, but the three-dimensional performances and an unusually dark atmosphere make for an above average, occasionally gripping western.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Trivia: This was the last film in which James Stewart wore his familiar cowboy hat. Up to this point, he had worn it in all his westerns since "Winchester '73", except "Broken Arrow". This was Stewart's first film with John Ford, and Ford didn't want him to wear it as he thought it was the worst looking cowboy hat he had ever seen. As Stewart said in the documentary, "A Wonderful Life", Ford relented, but got back at him in their next western, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", when he didn't let Stewart wear a hat at all.


Theatrical Release: July 26th, 1961

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DVD Review: Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

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Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 2, 4, 5 - PAL
Runtime 1:44:32
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.95 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) French, German, Italian, Spanish (all in Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, English (hoh), French, German, Italian, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28




The transfer is fairly weak - dirty, lots of digital noise, colors are occasionally dull, and detail is rather unremarkable. Still, it is progressive and anamorphic set to sell in Regions, 2,4 (Australia) and 5. I believe it is transferred from the correct standard for DVD playback (PAL). No extras but the current price is right, so as this is not out in region 1, we recommend on the basis of the film. A solid western.

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 2, 4, 5 - PAL


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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,


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