Across the Wide Missouri (film)
|Across the Wide Missouri|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William A. Wellman|
|Produced by||Robert Sisk|
|Screenplay by||Talbot Jennings|
|Story by||Frank Cavett|
|Based on||Across the Wide Missouri
by Bernard DeVoto
María Elena Marqués
|Narrated by||Howard Keel|
|Music by||David Raksin|
|Edited by||John Dunning|
|Language||English, Chinuk Wawa|
Across the Wide Missouri is a 1951 American Technicolor film based on historian Bernard DeVoto's book, Across the Wide Missouri. The film dramatizes an account of several fur traders and their interaction with the Native Americans.
The film was directed by William A. Wellman and starred Clark Gable as cunning trapper Flint Mitchell, Ricardo Montalbán as Blackfoot Iron Shirt, John Hodiak as Brecan, María Elena Marqués as Kamiah, a Blackfoot chief's daughter Mitchell marries and later falls in love with, J. Carrol Naish as Nez Perce Looking Glass, and Adolphe Menjou as Pierre. Howard Keel, as Mitchell's son, "Chip Mitchell" narrates.
In the 1830s in the Rocky Mountains, fur trapper Flint Mitchell (Clark Gable) meets at the summer "Rendezvous" with other mountain men, cashing in his furs, drinking, and enjoying contests among his friends. He organizes a hunting "brigade" into the beaver-rich Blackfoot territory, buying horses and recruiting trappers, despite protests from his Scottish friend and former trading partner, Brecan (John Hodiak), who lives among the Blackfoot and warns him that the land belongs to them. Flint outbids Brecan for Kamiah (María Elena Marqués), the granddaughter of Blackfoot medicine man Bear Ghost and adopted daughter of a Nez Perce chief, Looking Glass (J. Carrol Naish). Brecan wants to return her to the Blackfoot, to promote peace between the tribes, while Flint wants to marry Kamiah and ensure the brigade's safety.
Pierre (Adolphe Menjou), a French Canadian trapper, and Captain Humberstone Lyon (Alan Napier), another Scotsman, who fought in the Battle of Waterloo, join Flint on the dangerous expedition. Kamiah successfully guides Flint and his men on their trek through the high passes filled with crippling snow drifts and delivers them to the Blackfoot territory, where they build a stockade. Flint narrowly escapes capture and death by Ironshirt (Ricardo Montalban), a young Blackfoot prince and war chief, who kills Baptiste DuNord, one of Flint's best trappers. Ironshirt steals the brigade's horses, but Flint impresses Bear Ghost (Jack Holt), who orders them returned.
Though he marries Kamiah for reasons other than love, and cannot speak her language, Flint falls in love with her. As Flint and Kamiah grow closer, Flint and Bear Ghost become good friends. Bear Ghost prevents Ironshirt from harming Flint and his men, but catastrophe strikes when Roy DuNord, another of Flint's men, kills Bear Ghost to avenge his brother's death. Although Brecan kills Roy, and Flint sinks into a grieving depression over the death of Bear Ghost, Ironshirt succeeds Bear Ghost as chief and resumes his campaign to drive the white trappers out of his country.
In the spring, Kamiah gives birth to a boy, Chip. On the way to Rendezvous, the brigade is attacked by a large war party under Ironshirt and Kamiah is killed. With Chip strapped to its back, Kamiah's horse bolts during the attack and is chased by Ironshirt, intent on killing the boy. Flint manages to kill Ironshirt, however, and rescue his son. As the years pass, Flint takes Chip to live in the Blackfoot camp, where, Flint believes, Kamiah would have wanted him. Although Flint intends to have the boy formally educated in the East, Chip persuades him year after year to postpone his schooling, learning the ways of the mountains from his father.
- Clark Gable as Flint Mitchell
- Ricardo Montalbán as Ironshirt (Blackfoot war chief)
- John Hodiak as Brecan
- Adolphe Menjou as Pierre (French trapper)
- J. Carrol Naish as Looking Glass (Nez Perce chief)
- Jack Holt as Bear Ghost (Blackfoot medicine man)
- Alan Napier as Capt. Humberstone Lyon
- George Chandler as Gowie (Capt. Lyon's assistant)
- Richard Anderson as Dick
- María Elena Marqués as Kamiah (Blackfoot princess)
- Howard Keel as Narrator
- James Whitmore as Old Bill
- Chief Tahachee as Indian
- Nipo T. Strongheart as Indian Chief
- Evelyn Finley as Squaw
- Bobby Barber as Gardipe
- Timothy Carey as Baptiste DuNord
During filming, Ricardo Montalbán was reportedly thrown off a horse, knocked out, and walked on by another horse, leaving him with a spinal injury. This injury recurred in 1993, which forced him into a wheelchair.
The score for the film was composed and conducted by David Raksin and incorporated the song "Oh Shenandoah" in its main title and end title. Additional music was composed and/or adapted (from Raksin's material) by Al Sendrey, and conducted by Johnny Green.
- Across The Wide Missouri
- Words and music by Ervin Drake and Jimmy Shirl
- Skip to My Lou
- Alouette, Pretty Alouette traditionals
- Indian Lullaby
The complete score was issued on CD in 2009, on Film Score Monthly records.
According to MGM records the film earned $2,789,00 in the US and Canada and $1,812,00 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $635,000.
- Across the Wide Missouri, the book on which the film was based
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Brennan, Sandra:  All Movie Guide, Ricardo Montalban
- Mahalo Answers: Ricardo Montalban
- NNDB: Ricardo Montalban
- Kendall, Lukas (2009). David Raksin. "David Raksin at MGM (1950-1957)". Film Score Monthly (CD online notes) (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.) 12 (2).
- Across the Wide Missouri at the Internet Movie Database
- Across the Wide Missouri at AllMovie
- Across the Wide Missouri at the TCM Movie Database
- Across the Wide Missouri at the American Film Institute Catalog