DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD
PRODUCED BY JOHN FORD and BERNARD SMITH
Information From IMDb
When the government agency fails to deliver even the meager supplies due by treaty to the proud Cheyenne tribe in their barren desert reserve, the starving Indians have taken more abuse then it's worth and break it too by embarking on a 1,500 miles journey back to their ancestral hunting grounds. US Cavalry Capt. Thomas Archer is charged with their retrieval, but during the hunt grows to respect their noble courage, and decides to help them.
Written by KGF Vissers
Richard Widmark ... Capt. Thomas Archer
Carroll Baker ... Deborah Wright
Karl Malden ... Capt. Wessels
Sal Mineo ... Red Shirt
Dolores del Rio ... Spanish Woman (as Dolores Del Rio)
Ricardo Montalban ... Little Wolf
Gilbert Roland ... Dull Knife
Arthur Kennedy ... Doc Holliday
Patrick Wayne ... Second Lieut. Scott
Elizabeth Allen ... Miss Plantagenet
John Carradine ... Jeff Blair
Victor Jory ... Tall Tree
Mike Mazurki ... Sr. First Sergeant
George O'Brien ... Major Braden
Sean McClory ... Dr. O'Carberry
Judson Pratt ... Mayor Dog Kelly
Carmen D'Antonio ... Pawnee Woman
Ken Curtis ... Joe
James Stewart ... Wyatt Earp
Edward G. Robinson ... the Secretary of the Interior
Walter Baldwin ... Jeremy Wright - Deborah's Uncle (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ... Trooper (uncredited)
Willis Bouchey ... Colonel at Victory Cave (uncredited)
Lee Bradley ... Cheyenne (uncredited)
Harry Carey Jr. ... Trooper Smith (uncredited)
Dan Carr ... Trooper (uncredited)
Jeannie Epper ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Stephanie Epper ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Shug Fisher ... Skinny - Texas Cattle Drover (uncredited)
James Flavin ... Ft. Robinson Sergeant of the Guard (Uncredited)
William Forrest ... Senator (uncredited)
Donna Hall ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Dodge City Townsman (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward ... Trooper (uncredited)
William Henry ... Infantry Captain (uncredited)
Harry Hickox ... Bartender (uncredited)
Harry Holcombe ... Senator (uncredited)
Nancy Hsueh ... Little Bird (uncredited)
Ben Johnson ... Trooper Plumtree (uncredited)
Steven Manymules ... Point Man (uncredited)
Ted Mapes ... Trooper (uncredited)
Mae Marsh ... Woman (uncredited)
Philo McCullough ... Man (uncredited)
John McKee ... Trooper (uncredited)
David Miller ... Trooper (uncredited)
Louise Montana ... Woman (uncredited)
Nanomba 'Moonbeam' Morton ... Running Deer (uncredited)
Many Muleson ... Medicine Man (uncredited)
James O'Hara ... Trooper (uncredited)
Denver Pyle ... Sen. Henry (uncredited)
John Qualen ... Svenson (uncredited)
Walter Reed ... Lt. Peterson - Ft. Robinson (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... Jessie - Texas Trail Boss (uncredited)
Bing Russell ... Braden's Telegraph Operator (uncredited)
Charles Seel ... Newspaper Publisher (uncredited)
Mary Statler ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Carleton Young ... Aide to Carl Schurz (uncredited)
Mari Sandoz (suggested by "Cheyenne Autumn")
James R. Webb (screenplay)
Howard Fast (novel "The Last Frontier") uncredited
William H. Clothier (director of photography) (as William Clothier)
The "Cheyenne" are actually Navajo, telling dirty jokes in their native tongue.
According to both John Ford and James Stewart, Ford added the segment with Stewart in place of an intermission. Ford didn't want people leaving the auditorium to go the bathroom or concessions counter, even though the film was long, and so he came up with the Wyatt Earp segment. He later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies.
According to Joseph McBride's "Searching for John John", John Ford was urged to cast Richard Boone and Anthony Quinn as the Little Wolf and Dull Knife characters, as both had Native American blood. Ricardo Montalban and Gilbert Roland, who were of Mexican descent, were cast instead.
Spencer Tracy was first cast as the secretary of interior Karl Shultz, but had a heart attack and was replaced by Edward G. Robinson, whose scenes were entirely photographed in studios, including the climatic meeting scene between Shultz and the Cheyenne chiefs, in which the background had to be done with screen process.
The final duel between Little Wolf and Red Shirt was shot on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. Though legends say that John Ford, so saddened by the death of the first Irish president of the nation, mourned his death by halting the shoot on that day, production documents actually show that it was the only scene to be shot that day, and they moved from Utah in the afternoon as originally scheduled.
Average Shot Length = ~11.6 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~11.2 seconds.
The usually puritanical John Ford contemplated filming a nude scene with Carroll Baker bathing in a river, but ultimately it wasn't shot.
When film critic Peter Bogdanovich visited the set to interview John Ford, he was introduced to Nancy Hsueh, who played Little Bird, whom Bogdanovich later cast in his first film, Targets (1968). While Bogdanovich was on the set, Sal Mineo recommended the book "The Last Picture Show" by Larry McMurtry to him, which became his second film as director seven years later.
John Ford would not allow Sal Mineo to speak any English dialog in the movie due to the actor's Bronx accent.
The role of Lt. Scott was originally offered to Jeffrey Hunter, who turned it town in order to star in the TV series "Temple Houston" (1963). The part was eventually given to Patrick Wayne. Hunter's series only ran for one season before it was cancelled.
* Factual errors: During the cavalry's first encounter with the Indians, the cannons are fired and there is absolutely no recoil.
* Anachronisms: The lanterns held by army guards outside the warehouse where the Indians were being kept after surrendering were "Coleman" lanterns, first produced in 1914.
* Anachronisms: In various shots, most notably when we first see the cavalry outpost, jet contrails can be seen in the skies.
* Errors in geography: The Cheyenne Indians cross the Canadian River in Indian Territory, which today is known as Oklahoma. The film was shot in Utah, where the magnificent desert bluffs and mountains in the scene exist. Nothing along the Canadian River in Oklahoma even closely resembles this. The Canadaian River flows through prairie and is lined by cottonwood and other trees.
* Revealing mistakes: When Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz talks with the colonel at the Victory Cave, the soldiers standing in the background are from a totally different scene: the light, colors and proportions are different.
* Factual errors: James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy are clearly both far too old to be Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA
Castle Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
Colorado River, Moab, Utah, USA
Fisher Canyon, Moab, Utah, USA
Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah, USA
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, USA
Goulding's Lodge, Monument Valley, Utah, USA
Gunnison Canyon, Colorado, USA
Gunnison National Park, Colorado, USA
Gunnison, Colorado, USA
Mexican Hat, Utah, USA
Moab, Utah, USA
Monument Valley, Utah, USA
Professor Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
RKO Encino Ranch - Balboa Boulevard & Burbank Boulevard, Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA
(town exterior scenes)
San Juan River, Mexican Hat, Utah, USA
South Park Avenue, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA
(flat area used for Cheyenne exodus scenes)
White's Ranch - Milepost 14 Utah Hwy 128, Moab, Utah, USA