7th Cavalry (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph H. Lewis|
|Produced by||Harry Joe Brown
|Screenplay by||Peter Packer|
|Based on||A Horse For Mrs. Custer
1954 short story in New World Writing
by Glendon Swarthout
Jay C. Flippen
|Music by||Mischa Bakaleinikoff|
|Edited by||Gene Havlick|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
7th Cavalry is a 1956 American Technicolor Western film directed by Joseph H. Lewis based on a story, "A Horse for Mrs. Custer," by Glendon Swarthout set after the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Filmed in Mexico, the picture stars Randolph Scott and Barbara Hale.
Captain Tom Benson (Randolph Scott) has been granted a furlough to bring his bride-to-be Martha back to Fort Abraham Lincoln and his Regiment, the 7th Cavalry. Benson is mystified when he sees the fort apparently deserted with the colors not flying. Exploring the vacant post he is met by the hysterical Charlotte Reynolds (Jeanette Nolan) whose husband replaced Benson as commander of his "C" Company and was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Only a small group of misfits and guardhouse prisoners led by an old sergeant remain who have held a wake by drinking themselves into oblivion.
Once the commands of Major Marcus Reno (Frank Wilcox) and Captain Frederick Benteen (Michael Pate) have returned, they and the widows hold Benson in contempt, not only for not being at the battle in command of his men, but what they perceived as George Custer's liking for him, Benson's non-West Point background, and his career as a gambler until commissioned into the Regiment.
Martha's father Colonel Kellogg (Russell Hicks) comes to the post to conduct a Board of Inquiry into Custer's actions that Benson sees as a smear against a man he admires who can not defend himself.
Held in contempt by his Regiment, when the President of the United States orders the recovery of the slain officers and the burial of the cavalrymen who fell in the battle, Benson takes his misfits and military prisoners into Indian territory to perform the task.
The Indians have made the land sacred ground and do not want to see the enemies they respected taken away from their burial site. A standoff develops as the cavalry insist on leaving the battleground with the dead officers' bodies. As the situation becomes tense a cavalryman is shot dead with an arrow whilst trying to escape. Then Custer's second horse (Dandy) appears - having been ridden out by a messenger who is unhorsed by an Indian scout away from the action - and is mistaken for Custer's dead horse (Vic) by the Indians. The bugler blows the call to charge and the horse gallops towards the cavalry's position. The Indians are said to believe that Custer's spirit has returned and allow the cavalry to leave the field. Back at the camp Captain Benson is reconciled with his father-in-law.
- Randolph Scott as Capt. Tom Benson
- Barbara Hale as Martha Kellogg
- Jay C. Flippen as Sgt. Bates
- Frank Faylen as Sgt. Kruger
- Jeanette Nolan as Charlotte Reynolds
- Leo Gordon as Vogel
- Denver Pyle as Dixon
- Harry Carey Jr. as Cpl. Morrison
- Michael Pate as Capt. Benteen
- Donald Curtis as Lt. Bob Fitch
- Frank Wilcox as Maj. Reno
- Pat Hogan as Young Hawk
- Russell Hicks as Col. Kellogg
- Peter Ortiz as Pollock
- Evans, Alun. Brassey's Guide to War Films. Brassey's, 2000. ISBN 1-57488-263-5 p. 180.