7th Cavalry


1h 15m 1956
7th Cavalry

Brief Synopsis

An alleged coward tries to redeem himself by reclaiming General Custer's body.

Photos & Videos

7th Cavalry - Movie Posters
7th Cavalry - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
7th Cavalry - Publicity Stills
7th Cavalry - Scene Stills
7th Cavalry - Lobby Card Set

Film Details

Also Known As
Return to Custer, The Return of Custer
Genre
Drama
Historical
Western
Release Date
Dec 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Producers-Actors Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "A Horse for Mrs. Custer" by Glendon E. Swarthout in New World Writing 5 (New York, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
6,856ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

In 1876, together with his fiancée, Martha Kellogg, Captain Tom Benson returns to his command under General George Custer. As they approach the fort, Tom notices that the garrison flag is not flying. Leaving Martha behind, Tom investigates and discovers that the fort is largely deserted. From Charlotte Reynolds, a distraught soldier's wife, Tom learns that most of the soldiers were massacred during a battle with the Sioux at Little Big Horn. Charlotte accuses Tom of deliberately avoiding the battle when he left the fort to fetch Martha. Although Tom insists that Custer gave him permission to leave, and that he did not know the battle was to take place so soon, the surviving soldiers are not convinced. Tom, who was Custer's right-hand man, is shocked to hear the other soldiers blame Custer's incompetence and ego for the defeat. Despite the bad feeling toward Tom, Martha remains supportive, but he decides to send her away so that she will not be affected by his blackened reputation. His plans are interrupted by the arrival of Martha's father, Colonel Kellogg, who has been charged with investigating the massacre. During the inquiry, Major Reno reveals that Custer made several serious mistakes, among them dividing his force into three battalions, which contributed to his defeat. Another soldier states that Custer began the attack against the advice of his scouts. When Tom tries to defend Custer, Kellogg orders him confined to quarters. Later, when asked why he left the fort on personal business so close to the time of the coming assault, Tom replies that Custer gave him direct orders, but because the orders were verbal, he has no proof. Determined to clear himself of charges of cowardice, Tom volunteers to lead a burial detail that has been ordered by President Ulysses S. Grant to remove the bodies of the officers from Little Big Horn. Tom "persuades" the soldiers who did not fight in the battle because they were in the stockade to volunteer along with him. As the detail travels toward Little Big Horn, Tom must contend with hostile soldiers as well as the threat of Indian attack. Near Little Big Horn, the soldiers encounter a warning indicating that Sitting Bull has made the site a sacred place for the Sioux, and the men become certain that they are riding into an ambush. Meanwhile, at the fort, Corporal Morrison returns and informs Martha that he heard Custer order Tom to leave. Then mounted on Dandy, a double for Vic, the horse that died with Custer, Morrison hurries to deliver the news to Tom. At Little Big Horn, the soldiers remove the officers' bodies and load them in wagons to be carried back to the fort. While they are working, the Sioux surround them. Young Hawk, a Sioux who was educated by whites, tells Tom that the soldiers are defiling sacred ground. He explains that the Sioux believe that the spirits of the dead men and horses live on in the Indians who defeated them in battle. When Tom dismisses his concerns as superstition, Young Hawk adds that if Custer's body is removed, his spirit would go with him and the fruits of their victory would be lost to the Sioux. When Tom still refuses to leave without Custer's body, the men rebel. Rather than further defile the sacred ground by shedding more blood, the Sioux surround the soldiers, planning to wait until they die. Meanwhile, Morrison approaches Little Big Horn. After he is killed by a lookout, the riderless horse continues to Little Big Horn. The Sioux recognize the horse as Custer's and, believing him to be the spirit of the dead Vic, disperse. Tom takes advantage of Dandy's appearance to bring his men home. Kellogg apologizes and gives his blessing to Martha and Tom's marriage.

Photo Collections

7th Cavalry - Movie Posters
7th Cavalry - Movie Posters
7th Cavalry - Publicity Stills
7th Cavalry - Publicity Stills
7th Cavalry - Scene Stills
7th Cavalry - Scene Stills
7th Cavalry - Lobby Card Set
7th Cavalry - Lobby Card Set
7th Cavalry - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
7th Cavalry - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Film Details

Also Known As
Return to Custer, The Return of Custer
Genre
Drama
Historical
Western
Release Date
Dec 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Producers-Actors Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "A Horse for Mrs. Custer" by Glendon E. Swarthout in New World Writing 5 (New York, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
6,856ft (8 reels)

Articles

7th Cavalry


While finishing up his career on the highest of notes with seven Budd Boetticher-directed westerns (1956-1960) and then Ride the High Country (1962) for Sam Peckinpah, Randolph Scott also starred in two lesser-known westerns: 7th Cavalry (1956) and Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957).

7th Cavalry, directed by Joseph H. Lewis for Columbia Pictures, hit theaters midway between the release dates of the first two Boetticher films, Seven Men from Now (1956) and The Tall T (1957), but the film it actually most resembles is Boetticher's own earlier The Man from the Alamo (1953), a Universal production that starred Glenn Ford. In that picture, Ford is ostracized by townspeople for fleeing the battle of the Alamo and thus winding up as the only survivor. In 7th Cavalry, Scott plays an officer in George Armstrong Custer's outfit who is resented by all for having missed the Battle of the Little Big Horn; never mind that he claims it was Custer himself who sent him away on another task beforehand. The two films make for an interesting comparison, but Man from the Alamo relies more on visuals than on talk and ultimately is stronger because of it.

Randolph Scott is nonetheless very pleasing in 7th Cavalry. At this point in his career, he projected western solidness second only to John Wayne. He looks good in a cavalry uniform and is totally believable in the part, which has him branded a coward after returning to Fort Lincoln shortly after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, not knowing that Custer and the rest of the troop have been massacred. Scott had previously been ordered by Custer to leave and go pick up his fiancée, who also happens to be the daughter of the commanding colonel, who hates Scott. To prove himself, Scott leads a burial detail of miscreants and drunkards back to the Little Big Horn with the aim of burying the enlisted men and bringing back the bodies of the officers. But to the Sioux, the battleground is now holy land and the removal of any dead would be seen as a violation...

7th Cavalry was produced by Harry Joe Brown, who, in partnership with Scott, also produced most of the Boetticher films and many other westerns in the early 1950s. Brown was a well-respected class act who had been in the industry since the silent era, when he directed and produced scores of films. Starting in the mid-1940s, he turned exclusively to producing.

Director Joseph H. Lewis had demonstrated his excellence in films like Gun Crazy (1950), My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) and The Big Combo (1955). 7th Cavalry, however, he viewed as a routine assignment and not much more. As a result, it is professionally directed but lacks the stylish flair of his great movies. Lewis also directed Randolph Scott in A Lawless Street (1955).

Producer: Harry Joe Brown, Randolph Scott
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Screenplay: Peter Packer, Glendon Swarthout (story)
Cinematography: Ray Rennahan
Film Editing: Gene Havlick
Art Direction: George Brooks
Music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Cast: Randolph Scott (Capt. Tom Benson), Barbara Hale (Martha Kellogg), Jay C. Flippen (Sgt. Bates), Frank Faylen (Sgt. Kruger), Jeanette Nolan (Charlotte Reynolds), Leo Gordon (Vogel).
C-75m.

by Jeremy Arnold
7Th Cavalry

7th Cavalry

While finishing up his career on the highest of notes with seven Budd Boetticher-directed westerns (1956-1960) and then Ride the High Country (1962) for Sam Peckinpah, Randolph Scott also starred in two lesser-known westerns: 7th Cavalry (1956) and Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957). 7th Cavalry, directed by Joseph H. Lewis for Columbia Pictures, hit theaters midway between the release dates of the first two Boetticher films, Seven Men from Now (1956) and The Tall T (1957), but the film it actually most resembles is Boetticher's own earlier The Man from the Alamo (1953), a Universal production that starred Glenn Ford. In that picture, Ford is ostracized by townspeople for fleeing the battle of the Alamo and thus winding up as the only survivor. In 7th Cavalry, Scott plays an officer in George Armstrong Custer's outfit who is resented by all for having missed the Battle of the Little Big Horn; never mind that he claims it was Custer himself who sent him away on another task beforehand. The two films make for an interesting comparison, but Man from the Alamo relies more on visuals than on talk and ultimately is stronger because of it. Randolph Scott is nonetheless very pleasing in 7th Cavalry. At this point in his career, he projected western solidness second only to John Wayne. He looks good in a cavalry uniform and is totally believable in the part, which has him branded a coward after returning to Fort Lincoln shortly after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, not knowing that Custer and the rest of the troop have been massacred. Scott had previously been ordered by Custer to leave and go pick up his fiancée, who also happens to be the daughter of the commanding colonel, who hates Scott. To prove himself, Scott leads a burial detail of miscreants and drunkards back to the Little Big Horn with the aim of burying the enlisted men and bringing back the bodies of the officers. But to the Sioux, the battleground is now holy land and the removal of any dead would be seen as a violation... 7th Cavalry was produced by Harry Joe Brown, who, in partnership with Scott, also produced most of the Boetticher films and many other westerns in the early 1950s. Brown was a well-respected class act who had been in the industry since the silent era, when he directed and produced scores of films. Starting in the mid-1940s, he turned exclusively to producing. Director Joseph H. Lewis had demonstrated his excellence in films like Gun Crazy (1950), My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) and The Big Combo (1955). 7th Cavalry, however, he viewed as a routine assignment and not much more. As a result, it is professionally directed but lacks the stylish flair of his great movies. Lewis also directed Randolph Scott in A Lawless Street (1955). Producer: Harry Joe Brown, Randolph Scott Director: Joseph H. Lewis Screenplay: Peter Packer, Glendon Swarthout (story) Cinematography: Ray Rennahan Film Editing: Gene Havlick Art Direction: George Brooks Music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff Cast: Randolph Scott (Capt. Tom Benson), Barbara Hale (Martha Kellogg), Jay C. Flippen (Sgt. Bates), Frank Faylen (Sgt. Kruger), Jeanette Nolan (Charlotte Reynolds), Leo Gordon (Vogel). C-75m. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's working titles were The Return of Custer and Return to Custer. For more information about the life of General George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn, please see the entry for the 1942 Warner Bros. film They Died With Their Boots On in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50.