The Indian Fighter

  • 1955
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Western

A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the Indian raises this beautifully filmed western above the norm. Douglas is a veteran scout who is hired to guide a wagon train through dangerous Sioux territory as it pushes toward Oregon circa 1870. Seeking to gain permission from the Indians for safe passage, Douglas visits Franz, the Sioux chief. Franz explains...read more

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A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the Indian raises this beautifully filmed western above the norm. Douglas is a veteran scout who is hired to guide a wagon train through dangerous Sioux territory as it pushes toward Oregon circa 1870. Seeking to gain permission from the Indians for

safe passage, Douglas visits Franz, the Sioux chief. Franz explains the trouble with the Sioux started when unscrupulous white traders tried to steal the Indians' gold by getting them drunk. Douglas promises to clear the matter up with the army, and Franz agrees to go to the fort and sign a peace

treaty with the soldiers. Despite Franz's cooperation, the potential for disaster exists in the person of Landers, the chief's brother, who harbors deep hatred for the white man. While wandering the Indian encampment, Douglas stumbles across the chief's beautiful daughter Martinelli bathing naked

in a stream. She realizes the scout has seen her and is mildly irritated at the invasion of her privacy, but she is also intrigued by the handsome white man. Trouble flares up when an Indian is murdered. Landers captures Matthau and blames him for the crime. Knowing that Mattheu will be executed

by the Indians, Douglas insists on taking the prisoner to the fort for a trial. Landers refuses to give Matthau up, which leads to a knife fight between him and Douglas. The white scout wins the battle, but does not kill the Indian. Franz then agrees to allow Douglas to take Matthau. At the fort,

Matthau claims that his partner, Chaney, actually committed the murder, and both men are put behind bars. Soon after, Franz arrives to sign the peace treaty, and Douglas finds that a young widow, Diana Douglas (Kirk's ex-wife), and her son have taken a liking to him. Sensing entrapment into

marriage, Douglas leaves the fort and continues guiding the wagon train to Oregon. On the trail, Douglas becomes lonely and rides back to the Indian encampment to see Martinelli. He is followed by Chaney and Matthau, recently released from jail, who have followed the scout in the hope that he will

lead them to a secret Indian gold mine. While Douglas dallies with Martinelli, Chaney and Matthau get an Indian brave drunk and trick him into revealing the location of the mine. As the drunken Indian speaks, Landers suddenly appears and a fight breaks out. Landers and several other Indians are

killed, and the rest of the tribe goes on the warpath. The frightened settlers turn their wagons around and head back to the fort. By the time Douglas catches up with them, the settlers want to hang him for desertion. But when the angry Indians attack, all is forgiven, and Douglas leads the

defense. The battle lasts until nightfall, whereupon Douglas sneaks out and has Martinelli show him to the gold mine. There, hard at work, are Chaney and Matthau stealing the gold. During the confrontation, Matthau sets off an explosion that kills Chaney. Douglas and Martinelli take the evil white

man before Franz, who is about to launch his final assault on the settlers. After some hurried explanations, the Sioux chief calls off the attack and even agrees to let his daughter marry Douglas.

THE INDIAN FIGHTER was the first film to be produced by actor Douglas' production company, Bryna, and the choice was well made. The script by Frank Davis and Ben Hecht gives a fairly realistic and balanced portrait of Indian life. Instead of being faceless marauders, the Sioux are shown to have an

intricate society with codes of behavior and honor. The Indians show concern for their families and are decent human beings with an amazing capacity for understanding nature. Douglas had "discovered" Italian model Martinelli who, after introducing nudity to the western film, returned to Europe to

exploit her new-found fame in a number of Italian productions.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the Indian raises this beautifully filmed western above the norm. Douglas is a veteran scout who is hired to guide a wagon train through dangerous Sioux territory as it pushes toward Oregon circa 1870. Seeking to gai… (more)

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