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Western films, from silent to today

Run of the Arrow (1957)

Run of the Arrow (1957) poster Rod Steiger is an Irishman named O’Meara who buried a father and two brothers while fighting for the South during the Civil War and carries around the final bullet he fired after it was dug out of a wounded Union officer.

He wants nothing to do with the reunified United States post-war, so he heads West to get away from Yankee blue.

He winds up a captive of the Sioux, along with a cavalry scout named Walking Coyote. The Indians plan to kill both men, until Walking Coyote requests the “run of the arrow.”

Barefoot, the captives are given a head start, then expected to run for their lives. Walking Coyote doesn’t make it; O’Meara does, but only with the help of a pretty Indian squaw named Yellow Moccasin (Sara Montiel).

O’Meara soon joins the tribe and takes Yellow Moccasin for his wife. And that makes him a perfect candidate to ride along with and watch over U.S. troops as they prepare to build Fort Lincoln in a location agreed upon by Red Cloud.

But a renegade named Crazy Wolf kills Capt. Clark, the leader of the expedition, a man who truly wants peace with the Indians.

That puts the fort-building detachment under the command of glory-hunting Lt. Driscoll (Ralph Meeker), the very same Union officer O’Meara wounded at the end of the Civil War.

And Driscoll sees absolutely no reason to abide by any agreement made with a savage like Red Cloud.

Review:

Well done film with the run of the arrow and the climatic battle scene — with the cavalry trying desperately to defend a partially built fort — likely to be the ones that viewers remember.,

Steiger is convincing in the lead role, even if there’s a bit too much philosophical talk of national allegiance between he and his fellow Sioux.

Charles Bronson is cast as an Indian again. Jay Flippen provides a great performance as Walking Coyote. The film also features a cameo by Tim McCoy of 1930s series Western fame as the officer who reaches a treaty with Red Cloud.

All that said, it is a little strange to hear Angie Dickinson’s voice coming out of Montiel. Dickinson dubbed the celebrated Spanish actress, who also appeared in “Vera Cruz” with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster.

Sara Montiel as Yellow Moccasin with Rod Steiger as O'Meara in Run of the Arrow (1957)Directed by:
Samuel Fuller

Cast:
Rod Steiger … O’Meara
Sara Montiel … Yellow Moccasin
Charles Bronson … Blue Buffalo
Brian Keith … Capt. Clark
Ralph Meeker … Lt. Driscoll
Jay C. Flippen … Walking Coyote
H.M. Wynant … Crazy Wolf
Olive Carey … Mrs. O’Meara
Neyle Morrow … Lt. Stockwell
Frank DeCova … Red Cloud
Tim McCoy … Gen. Allen
Stuart Randall … Col. Taylor
Billy Miller … Silent Tonque
Frank Warner … Banjo player
Chuck Hayward … Corporal
Chuck Roberson … Sergeant

Runtime: 86 min.

Memorable lines:

O’Meara: “I’m a Reb and I’ll die a Reb, even if Lee’s surrender meant the end of the South.”
Capt. Clark: “Lee’s surrender wasn’t the death of the South, it was the start of the United States.”

Mrs. O’Meara: “A man shows respect, even if it’s for a damn dead Yankee president.”
O’Meara: “Have you lost your reason? The baboon was shot too late.”

O’Meara: “You said you could have been a chief. Why didn’t you?”
Walking Coyote: “Ah, I couldn’t stand politics.”

Gen. Allen: “Here we are, breaking our backs, trying to make peace with the Indians, and they send us officers like that, scratching for combat.”
Capt. Clark: “I guess he’s not the only frustrated Custer in the Army.”

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