Dakota Incident


1h 28m 1956

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 23, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Landmark Productions, Inc.; Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Trucolor)

Synopsis

On the run after a bank robbery, Rick Largo convinces his cohort, Frank Banner, to shoot Frank's brother John, then split the booty two ways. Johnny, however, only pretended to be dead after being shot, and when he shows up in town, challenges his brother to a shoot-out, even though Frank swears that Largo fired the bullet. Frank misses and Johnny spares his life, then tells him to get out of town. Johnny next has a shootout with Largo, during which Largo is killed. With his vengeance completed, Johnny decides to find a horse so that he can get to Laramie, Wyoming, where he plans to buy a ranch. Meanwhile, saloon singer Amy Clarke also determines to get to Laramie so that she can retrieve money stolen from her by her crooked agent and former sweetheart. The stagecoach to Laramie is full, but Amy bribes the clerk with one of her scented garters and gets a place. When the stage arrives, the driver and horses are full of Cheyenne Indian arrows, and all the passengers are dead. Undaunted, Amy insists on taking the stage anyway and convinces Johnny to drive the coach and harness his newly-purchased horse to the rig. Although Amy's French maid Giselle refuses to accompany her mistress, four other passengers ride along: the bombastic Senator Blakeley, who continually espouses the Indian cause despite only knowing them in "the literary sense"; Carter Hamilton, a bank clerk sought for the robbery committed by Johnny and his gang, who is determined to follow the outlaw until he can turn him in; Mark Chester, a gold speculator from Pennsylvania; and Minstrel, Amy's accompanist, companion and protector. En route, the group stops to rest and finds Frank's corpse pierced with Cheyenne arrows. A short time later, they break a wheel and crash, and move the stage to the safety of a dry gully while they make repairs. Their precautions do not protect them from a Cheyenne attack, during which Chester is killed. A full-scale rifle battle ensues and, with each Indian attack, Amy ridicules Blakeley for his support of the "savages," but he continues to find excuses for the brutality. The Indians wait in the rocks above while the stranded travelers begin to feel the effects of thirst. When Hamilton and Johnny decide to try to steal one of the Indians' horses and get help, Hamilton is injured and Johnny shoots the Indian, saving Hamilton's life. When the two arrive back in the gully, they find Blakeley flirting with Amy. Although amy insults Blakeley by calling him "father," Johnny becomes jealous. As the group continues to suffer from heat and thirst, Minstrel sees a mirage and insists on going to it, with Hamilton, in his own state of delirium, believing that Johnny lied about the lack of water. Minstrel is shot by the Indians, and Amy once again chides Blakeley, telling him to prove his pacifist methods by talking peace to the Indians. Blakeley goes out with open arms and words of brotherhood, but the Indians shoot him. As he dies, Blakeley concedes to Amy, who feels responsible for his death, that indeed words may not be enough, but that, perhaps, the Indians just did not understand. Soon Hamilton, too, is near death and Johnny decides to risk his own life to save Hamilton by retrieving a canteen that the Indians planted as a lure. He takes the canteen but finds it dry, and then begins to taunt the Indians. Just then the gully begins to fill up with water, and Amy, bringing a drink to Hamilton, discovers him dead. After an Indian attacks Johnny, Johnny almost drowns him, but decides to spare his life, telling him to return to his people and report that a white man gave him back his life. Johnny tells Amy that he will keep his promise to the dying Hamilton to clear his name and return the money to the bank. She says that she no longer cares about her former sweetheart, and the two embrace just as the Indians return. The Indian whose life was spared brings two horses as a gift, and the couple regret that Blakeley could not have lived to see this act of friendship.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 23, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Landmark Productions, Inc.; Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Trucolor)

Quotes

Not all savages paint their faces and wear eagle feathers!
- Sen. Blakely
Charity case. Nothing but charity cases. Who is gonna pay for this funeral?
- Matthew Barnes
You'll find $300 in his vest pocket. You take out for his funeral and send the rest to his nearest relative.
- John Banner
Nearest relative, huh?
- Matthew Barnes
Nephew, you just found yourself an uncle.
- Matthew Barnes

Trivia

Notes

A 20 July 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item and a January 17, 1956 letter to the PCA found in the file on this film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library states that the film was being produced by Landmark Productions, a company owned by Michael Baird. However, no other sources mention that corporate name and only Baird's name appears in the credits. According to a July 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, Anne Baxter was originally cast in the film, but had to withdraw when shooting delays caused scheduling conflicts with Baxter-Birdwell's production, The Last Day on Earth, a project which May not have reached fruition. A modern source adds Red Morgan to the cast.