A John Ford movie about a Union cavalry raid into the South, trying to break open Vicksburg MS.
So we started watching this, one of Mr. Otter’s favorites. And the first scene has John Wayne meeting with Prez. Grant and a couple of other men, and they go blah blah blah and natter natter natter and point at maps…and when that scene was over, I turned to Mr. Otter and said, what the HECK were they just talking about?
So Mr. Otter changed out of his mild-mannered secret identity and became…HISTORIAN-ON-A-STICK! And told me all about the actual raid, who led it, where they went, what happened and how it was different from the movie. And then we watched that scene again. And it made slightly more sense…but it was still unbelieveably vague and nonsequential.
The nice thing is, you don’t really need to know what they said in that scene, because they go over it about ten times during the movie: we’re trying to get to Vicksburg to distract the Confederates, and then we have to figure out how to get home from that far inside the enemy lines.
And that’s all you really need to know.
Wayne is in charge, William Holden is the doctor forced to go along, Constance Towers is the Confederate woman they end up taking along with them to give the movie some extra tension, and other Ford regulars round out the cast.
This one has a slow start but gets better as soon as they get into some danger instead of just sauntering across the landscape. I found it incredibly ironic that William Holden got to blow up the bridge in this one, and the ending is good.
A decent shoot-em-up, although not (as I thought from the title and the fact that John Wayne is in it) a Western.