Cheyenne Autumn

Cheyenne Autumn

DVD - 2006 | Widescreen version
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Three-hundred starving Cheyenne men, women and children, forcibly resettled in the barren wastelands of Oklahoma, set out on a desperate 1500-mile trek back to their Yellowstone homeland. A true-life story.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c2006
Edition: Widescreen version
ISBN: 9781419828911
Branch Call Number: 791.4372 C531f
Language Note: Includes English, French and Spanish subtitles; closed captioned for the hearing impaired
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (156 min.) : sound, color, stereo ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: John Ford's Cheyenne autumn


From Library Staff

Although this studio film uses a mostly non-Indian cast, it's depiction of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus was designed as an elegy for Native Americans and the injustices they suffered. Directed by John Ford.

After their enforced settlement in a barren region of Oklahoma, 300 starving members of the Cheyenne undertake an arduous 1,500 mile trek to their Yellowstone homeland. The film stars: Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Ricardo Montalban, and Sal Mineo. Based on the book “Cheyenne Autumn” by Mari Sa... Read More »

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Nov 15, 2019

Just about everybody, then and still, is disappointed by John Ford's last western, which takes the form of a docudrama "inspired by" rather than based on Mari Sandoz's rather docudramatic book with the same title. It's a beautiful-enough movie, gloriously shot by William Clothier, with mostly some U.S. cavalry characters and the niece (fictional) of the BIA reservation director inserted into a context of historical Cheyenne. Nowadays, everyone hates that the Cheyenne principals are played by Mexican and Sicilian-heritage actors; if they knew that the Cheyenne-speakers in the picture as well as their ostensible leaders when they speak "Cheyenne" are really Navajos speaking profanity-laced Navajo, they might feel better as well as realize why the "Cheyenne" dialogue is not translated by English subtitles. Two oddities (besides the long, never funny enough insertion featuring James Stewart as Wyatt Earp in Dodge City) are that Sal Mineo has virtually no speeches during the whole film and that, despite traveling almost a thousand miles, the Cheyenne never get out of Monument Valley. Richard Widmark as the cavalry captain sympathetic to the Cheyenne as well as the movie's off-screen narrator makes one wish he'd been in more Ford westerns (Two Rode Together is the only other Widmark-Ford collaboration). Despite all its insufficiencies, Cheyenne Autumn's subject and attitude deserve ongoing respect, such that it's never a film you can despise. --Ray Olson

Jan 16, 2019

Watch Ford's Cheyenne Autumn more for what is says about the 1960s than the 1870s. It's an excellent preview of the Cult of the Indian alternative western of the 70s. Yes is gets a few points across about the long history of the clash of civilizations, but who knew Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska looked like the desert Southwest? Of course the writers left out the Cheyenne path of murder, rape and pillage across Kansas.

I kept waiting for Captain Kirk to beam down from the Enterprise and take care of Ricardo Montalban aka Chief Little Wolf.

See "Gunfighter Nation" by Richard Slotkin if you want to learn more about media and the myth of the West.

Jul 28, 2017

Is this the same director whose other films bowled me over ? How does this happen? Very disappointng.

Apr 10, 2017

A remarkable epic from director John Ford, wonderfully staged and photographed. No one else conveyed the tangible reality of cavalry life and action so well. Magnificent panoramic shots. Unlike earlier commenters, I liked the Dodge City sequence a lot. It provided a nice, ironic contrast to the suffering of the Indians.

Feb 17, 2015

A film I've been waiting for my library to get for a while, but alas, it was disappointing. To expand on others' comments -- I was very surprised at some of Ford's choices. His casting of Widmark in the lead over his 'go-to', Wayne, for example. I wonder if The Duke was even approached, or schedules didn't coincide, or perhaps there was a falling out... Regardless, his presence would have made for a different experience -- for me. And the sore thumb injection of the Dodge City comedy sequence was just plain bizarre. Some have said that Ford's intent was to add comic relief to a rather dismal main premise, but it missed the mark here and was painfully awkward. On two positive notes: Carroll Baker was delightful, as was Ford's trademarked inimitable usage of Monument Valley, which was outstanding, as usual.

kevfarley Aug 12, 2014

The expert commentary by Joseph McBride enhances (scholarly) interest in Ford's flawed, but well-intended, Indian-friendly film.

7duffy Jul 04, 2014

Very uneven. Richard Widmark is not John Wayne and Wayne is missed in this film. Mike Mazurki does a good job in the Victor MacLagen role. Jimmy Stewart shows up in a sequence that should have been cut out and shown as a short. Typical, great, wide-screen visual depictions of the western landscape, in brilliant color, we have come to expect from John Ford. The story, hopefully corrects some misconceptions about the Cheyenne's treatment. Edward G. Robinson was effective in a small role. However, all-in-all, it misses The Duke and was too long.

Mar 13, 2013

This film is a 1964 western directed by John Ford, based on the story of a factual event called the Northern Cheyenne Exodos of 1878-79.
The film was the last western to be directed by John Ford.
Although it is funny, the "Dodge City" sequence that features James Stewart as Wyatt Earp, and Arthur Kennedy as Doc Holliday, is mostly unrelated to the rest of an otherwise serious movie and breaks the flow of the story.
It should be removed.

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