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Western films, from silent to today

New Mexico (1951)

New Mexico (1951) poster President Abraham Lincoln promises Chief Acoma and the Indians of the Five Nations cooperation and peace with the whites in New Mexico.

But with his assassination, corrupt whites decide there’s no longer a need to keep that promise and begin cheating the Indians out of their promised rations.

The shooting of three Indians at Fort Union and the retaliatory slaying of Col. McComb, commander of that post, has the two sides on the brink of all-out war.

That’s when Capt. Hunt (Lew Ayres) decides to lead a small party of men into the hills in one last effort to save the peace with Acoma.

As it turns out, that’s not likely to happen. Especially not after one of Hunt’s men shoots Acoma’s oldest son.

And so Hunt finds himself and his small patrol holed up in an adobe village on a mountaintop, with corrupt Judge Wilcox and pretty entertainer Cherry (Marilyn Maxwell) among the group, trying to hold off Acoma and his 1,000 warriors until help can arrive.

Review:

A ridiculous opening has Lincoln meeting with the Indian chief in New Mexico Territory at what would have been the height of the Civil War.

And the ending to this B Western, chock full of stock footage, is equally unbelievable.

In between, we’re served up a decent cavalry versus Indians action film filled with familiar faces. Hunt’s small patrol includes Andy Devine, Ian McDonald and Raymond Burr.

Female lead Marilyn Maxwell was often compared to the other Marilyn. This marked one of just two Westerns in which she’d appear; the other being “Stage to Thunder Rock” (1964) more than a dozen years later.

Marilyn Maxwell as Cherry with Lew Ayres as Capt. Hunt in New Mexico (1951)Directed by:
Irving Reis

Cast:
Lew Ayres … Capt. Hunt
Marilyn Maxwell … Cherry
Robert Hutton … Lt. Vermont
Andy Devine … Sgt. Garrity
Raymond Burr … Private Anderson
Jeff Corey … Coyote
Lloyd Corrigan … Judge Wilcox
Verna Felton … Mrs. Fenway
Ted de Corsia … Acoma
John Hoyt … Sgt. Harrison
Donald Buka … Private Van Vechton
Robert Osterloh … Private Parsons
Ian McDonald … Private Daniels
William Tannen … Private Cheever
Arthur M. Loew Jr. .. Private Finnegan
Bob Duncan … Cpl. Mack
Hans Conried … Abraham Lincoln

Runtime: 76 min.

Memorable lines:

Col. McComb: “Rough riding, Mr. President.”
Abraham Lincoln: “Oh, I’m used to it. Cavalry horses ride smoother than an arm chair at the White House.”

Col. McComb, when Capt. Hunt voices concerns that the Indians are being cheated out of their rations: “Capt. Hunt, if you or the Indians have any complaints to be made against the (Indian) commissioner, they’ll be made through channels.”
Capt. Hunt: “Some of those channels are clogged, sir. Hungry men get impatient.”

Acoma to Col. McComb, when he has his men gun down two fleeing Indian braves: “Great White Father (Lincoln) is dead, but his heart could live. You have stopped it again.”

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