Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > History in Films and on Television
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

History in Films and on Television History in Films and on TV - Documentary Films, Historical Dramas, and history programs on PBS and the History Channel


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old July 16th, 2017, 09:55 PM   #1
Historian
 
Joined: Aug 2015
From: Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,496
Cavalry & Indians Movies and TV


I like cavalry and Indians movies and am thinking of writing a book about the fictional history of the Indian wars in the wild west of imagination.

One necessary task would be to put movies in the correct fictional order.

That is easy when the movies state their fictional dates.

For example Pillars of the Sky 1956 has a stated fictional date of 1868, even though the historical events it is loosely based on happened ten years earlier in 1858. And Kamiakin was not killed in 1858 or 1868 but died in 1877.

Other movies give clues about their dates.

For example Rio Grande 1950 was fifteen years after the devastation of the Shenandoah Valley in October 1864 and thus should happen sometime in the period of October 1869 to October 1880.

Stagecoach 1939 includes the following dialog:

Quote:
Ed (editor): McCoy! Billy, kill that story about the Republican Convention in Chicago and take this down: "The Ringo Kid was killed on Main Street in Lordsburg tonight. And among the additional dead were..." Leave that blank for a spell.
McCoy, typesetter: I didn't hear any shootin', Ed.
Ed (editor): You will, Billy, you will.
Stagecoach (1939) - Quotes - IMDb

Republican national conventions in Chicago happened 19-18 May 1860, 20-21 May 1868, 2-8 June 1880, 3-6 June 1884, 19-25 June 1888, and again in 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, and 1920. Two stagecoach passengers fought in the Civil War, making the only reasonable choices 1868, 1880, 1884, and 1888.

The Apache outbreak most likely to be referred to as Geronimo leaving the reservation was in 1885. Of course the fictional movie Geronimo(s) left the reservation almost as often as the Joker leaves prison.

Another way to tell the fictional date of a movie is the number of stars in United States flags. They can be compared to the dates those numbers of stars were official. Of course the goofs section in IMDb has a bunch of goofs stating that the flags have the wrong number of stars for the dates of the movies.

Another thing I look for is what military units are involved. Sometimes that is mentioned and sometimes there are visual clues.

For example, each troop or company of cavalry carried a fork tailed flag called a guidon.

According to the 1833 regulations, a guidon was divided horizontally, red above and white below, with the white letters U.S. in the red part and the red letter of the company in the white part. In 1862 the design was changed to a fork tailed US flag, with the stars usually arranged in concentric circles. In 1883 the design was changed to horizontal red over white, with the regimental number in white above and the company letter in red below.

Many movies use the stars and stripes guidons, but most used variations of the red over white guidons. Some have U.S. in the upper part, some have the regimental number, some have crossed sabers, some may have other symbols, and some may be blank. Some have the company letter in the lower part, others may have U.S. or the regimental number, or crossed sabers, or other symbols, or be blank.

So I look for the designs of guidons when watching cavalry movies.

Some movie cavalrymen have crossed saber insignia on their hats or caps. And sometimes it has regimental numbers and/or company letters as well. For example the cavalry in Last of the Comanches 1953 set in August 1876 wear insignia of company G 14th Cavalry on their hats.

It is often said that John Ford used the 7th Cavalry a lot in his movies like Stagecoach 1939, Fort Apache 1948, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 1949, Rio Grande 1950, The Searchers1956, The Horse Soldiers 1959, Sergeant Rutledge1960, Two Rode Together 1961, and Cheyenne Autumn 1964, but I doubt it.

It is said that the 7th Cavalry rescues the protagonists in Stagecoach 1939. Look at this still:

Click the image to open in full size.

It looks sort of like the number 7 in the bottom half of the guidon. But this is the back or reverse side of the guidon. The front or obverse side of a flag is always shown with the staff to the left. So this is actually a guidon of company F of the Sixth Cavalry.

I haven't seen any visual indication of the regiment in Fort Apache.

In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon set at Fictional Fort Starke on the southern plains in late 1876, several persons wear caps with the number 2, as seen in these photos.

Click the image to open in full size.

In Rio Grande Patrick Wayne as a soldier's child wears a cap with a 7.

Click the image to open in full size.

But several of the characters who portray soldiers wear caps with the number 2.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

This still indicates that the Ninth Cavalry is the regiment in Sergeant Rutledge

Chuck Hayward

And Wikipedia says the Ninth Cavalry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Rutledge

Anyway, you won't find any African Americans in the Seventh Cavalry in any westerns I ever saw.

In Cheyenne Autumn several stills indicate that the guidon has no markings:

Ben Johnson - Page 94 - The Silver Screen Oasis

Thus the idea that John Ford often depicted the Seventh Cavalry seems doubtful.

If anyone wants to post any "facts" from the "history" of wild west movies go ahead.

Last edited by MAGolding; July 16th, 2017 at 10:06 PM.
MAGolding is offline  
Remove Ads
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > History in Films and on Television

Tags
cavalry, indians, movies



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
American Indians vs. Asian Indians Thessalonian Speculative History 56 September 21st, 2015 11:10 PM
Curved Cavalry Sabre vs Straight Cavalry Sword Mrbsct War and Military History 70 March 30th, 2015 12:33 AM
Camel Cavalry often considered one of the best ways of countering Heavy Horse Cavalry Pisces Adonis War and Military History 11 March 24th, 2014 02:40 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.