Broken Arrow (1950 film)

Broken Arrow
Broken Arrow Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Delmer Daves
Produced by Julian Blaustein
Written by Elliott Arnold (novel Blood Brother)
Michael Blankfort (front name for Albert Maltz)
Starring James Stewart,
Jeff Chandler,
Debra Paget
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Cinematography Ernest Palmer
Edited by J. Watson Webb Jr.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
July 20, 1950 (1950-07-20)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,550,000 (US rentals) [1] [2]

Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves and starred James Stewart as Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler as Cochise. The film is based on these historical figures but fictionalizes their story in dramatized form. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. Film historians have said that the movie was one of the first major Westerns since the Second World War to portray the Indians sympathetically. [3]

Plot

Tom Jeffords ( James Stewart) comes across a wounded, 14-year-old Apache boy dying from buckshot wounds in his back. Jeffords gives the boy water and heals his wounds. The boy's tribesmen appear and are at first hostile but decide to let Jeffords go free. However, when a group of gold prospectors approaches, the Apache gag Jeffords and tie him to a tree. Helpless, he watches as they attack the prospectors and torture the survivors. The warriors then let him go but warn him not to enter Apache territory again.

When Jeffords returns to Tucson, he encounters a prospector who escaped the ambush. He corrects a man's exaggerated account of the attack, but Ben Slade ( Will Geer) is incredulous and does not see why Jeffords did not kill the Apache boy. Instead, Jeffords learns the Apache language and customs and plans to go to Cochise's stronghold on behalf of his friend, Milt ( Arthur Hunnicut), who is in charge of the mail service in Tucson. Jeffords enters the Apache stronghold and begins a parley with Cochise ( Jeff Chandler) who agrees to let the couriers through. Jeffords meets a young Apache girl, Sonseeahray ( Debra Paget), and falls in love.

A few of Cochise's warriors attack an army wagon train and kill the survivors. The townsfolk nearly lynch Jeffords as a traitor before he is saved by General Oliver Otis Howard ( Basil Ruysdael), who recruits Jeffords to negotiate peace with Cochise. Howard (the "Christian General") condemns racism, saying that the Bible "says nothing about pigmentation of the skin". Jeffords makes a peace treaty with Cochise, but a group led by Geronimo ( Jay Silverheels) oppose the treaty and leave the stronghold. When these renegades ambush a stagecoach, Jeffords rides off to seek help from Cochise and the stagecoach is saved.

Jeffords and Sonseeahray marry in an Apache ceremony and have several days of tranquility. Later, Ben Slade's son spins a story to Jeffords and Cochise about two of his horses stolen by Cochise's people. Cochise says that his people did not take them and doubts his story, as he knows the boy's father is an Apache hater. They then decide to go along with the boy up the canyon but are ambushed by the boy's father and a gang of men from Tucson. Jeffords is badly wounded and Sonseeahray is killed but Cochise kills most of the men, including Ben Slade. Cochise forbids Jeffords to retaliate, saying that the ambush was not done by the military and that Geronimo broke the peace no less than Slade and his men, and that peace must be maintained. Jeffords rides off with the belief that "the death of Sonseeahray had put a seal upon the peace, and from that day on wherever I went, in the cities, among the Apaches and in the mountains, I always remembered, my wife was with me".

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