On the eve of his retirement, Captain nathan Brittles (Wayne) takes out a last patrol in an attempt to cut dead an impending Indian attack, finding himself encumbered by women who must be evacuated.
The second of director John Ford's celebrated "Cavalry Trilogy" bracketed by the almost as good Fort Apache and Rio Grande, this is the most flamboyantly colourful of Wayne movies, filled with lush, romanticised images (the year's Oscar for Cinematography) and taking an obvious delight in the rituals of the blue and yellow life.
Playing a good few years over his then age of 42, the Duke is a cavalry captain on the verge of retirement who finds himself experiencing an eventful last few days of service. Talking to his wife's grave and accepting a gold watch from his men would be mawkish scenes with anyone else, but under Ford's direction they become two of the emotional highlights of the big man's career.
A beautifully presented tale of love, honor and duty from a master film-maker.