Rio Grande

  • 1950
  • Movie
  • NR
  • War, Western

This fine portrait of the US Cavalry was the third in John Ford's magnificent trilogy about the troopers of the Old West, following FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke (John Wayne) is a tough commanding officer at a remote cavalry post whose hard edge is softened when his only son, Jeff (Claude Jarman, Jr.), reports for duty....read more

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This fine portrait of the US Cavalry was the third in John Ford's magnificent trilogy about the troopers of the Old West, following FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke (John Wayne) is a tough commanding officer at a remote cavalry post whose hard edge is softened

when his only son, Jeff (Claude Jarman, Jr.), reports for duty. After dropping out of West Point, the shamed Jeff has enlisted in the Cavalry and now wants to prove himself to his father. Kirby is cool toward the boy, promising no favoritism, and explains what Army life is really about: "Put out

of your mind any romantic ideas that it's a way of glory. It's a life of suffering and hardship, an uncompromising devotion to your oath and your duty." Jeff is taken under the wings of fun-loving troopers Tyree (Ben Johnson) and Boone (Harry Carey, Jr.), who keep an eye on the young man, and the

arrival of Kathleen Yorke (Maureen O'Hara), Kirby's estranged wife and Jeff's mother, adds some tension to the scene. She is determined to buy back Jeff's enlistment, and in the process rekindles Kirby's love for her. An excellent post-Civil War tale with romance (Wayne and O'Hara), humor

(Johnson, Carey, and Victor McLaglen), and music (a few tunes by the Sons of the Pioneers), RIO GRANDE is one of Ford's great achievements. As in FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, Ford creates a powerful portrait of the wild, remote Southwest during the Indian wars, presenting the

traditions and exploits of the old cavalry in very realistic terms, showing them in action as tired, dirty, wounded men performing their assignments in pain and discomfort and emphasizing the real glory of these soldiers as typified by their leader Kirby. The director's camera angles, broadly

encompassing whole lines of riding cavalrymen, accentuate their prosaic nobility and dedication to taming the frontier. Much of the score nicely supports the story, indicating the cavalrymen's Irish background and sentimentality, especially in the inclusion of the fine Sons of the Pioneers song

"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This fine portrait of the US Cavalry was the third in John Ford's magnificent trilogy about the troopers of the Old West, following FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke (John Wayne) is a tough commanding officer at a remote cavalr… (more)

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