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The Black Arrow

The Black Arrow(1948)

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In fifteenth century England, following the War of the Roses, the victorious Yorkists, led by the new king Edward IV, and his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, ruthlessly persecute the defeated Lancasterians. When Yorkist soldier Sir Richard Shelton returns to his home at Tunstall Castle, he is told by his uncle, Sir Daniel Brackley, that his father was murdered by their Lancasterian neighbor, Sir John Sedley. Brackley tells Richard that Sedley killed his father in a violent rage after being accused by Yorkists of treason, and that Sedley was executed a short time later. One day, as Richard and his soldiers escort Joanna, Sedley's daughter and ward of the crown, to Tunstall, Nick Appleyard, one of Richard's men, is killed in an ambush. Attached to the black arrow driven through Appleyard's heart is a note, signed "John Amend-All," claiming that Richard's father was killed by Brackley. The note also warns of the imminent deaths of two of Brackley's men, Bennett Hatch and Sir Oliver Oates. Alhough Brackley denies killing Richard's father, Richard and Joanna believe that Brackley is not telling the truth. A short time later, Joanna reveals to Richard that her father is still alive and that he is hiding in the forest. She also tells Richard that the mysterious letters from "John Amend-All" were written by her father. Richard vows to avenge his father's death by killing Brackley, but Joanna stops him and persuades him to leave Tunstall instead. In the hope that John's testimony before the Duke of Buckingham will result in Brackley and his group of traitors being brought to justice, Richard and Joanna set out to find John. Hatch intercepts the two escapees, though, and during the ensuing sword fight, Joanna is captured. Richard escapes by jumping into the moat, but while trying to crawl out of the water, he is struck by an arrow. The following day, Richard is found unconscious by Lawless, a soldier loyal to John, who takes him to Joanna's father. At his hideout, John explains to Richard how Brackley killed Richard's father, how Brackley's men framed John for the murder and how he survived the execution by placing a prayer book over his heart to shield it from the executioner's arrow. Realizing that Joanna is in danger at Tunstall Castle, Richard, John and Lawless set out to rescue her. En route to the castle, John is captured by Brackley and Hatch in an ambush, but Richard and Lawless manage to escape after killing Hatch. Brackley returns to the castle, where he forces Joanna to accept his marriage proposal by tying her decision to the fate of her father. Meanwhile, Lawless and Richard, disguised as friars, attempt to enter the castle to rescue Joanna and her father. No sooner do they enter the castle walls than they are captured by Brackley's men. As the wedding ceremony begins, Richard openly accuses his uncle of murdering his father, and a sword fight between the accuser and the accused ensues. After killing Brackley in the duel, Richard looks forward to ruling the House of York with Joanna at his side.