7th Cavalry

(Columbia Pictures, 1956)

Director -- Joseph H. Lewis. Starring -- Randolph Scott, Barbara Hale, Jay C. Flippen, Jeanette Nolan, Frank Faylen.

This is one of Randolph Scott's best two-a-year B Westerns for Columbia from the Fifties, directed by Joseph H. Lewis, a fine, low-budget filmmaker with a reputation among cineasts for some of his film noir dramas (Gun Crazy, 1949). Scott plays an Army officer who must prove he didn't desert General Custer at the Little Bighorn battle. Consequently in its court martial scenes, Peter Packer's (of Juke Box Jury fame) script delves into the historical facts of the lost battle and its aftermath, when the Army sent out a burial detail to pick up the bodies and personal belongings. The love interest between Scott and Hale is inconsequential, but the cinematography's good, Scott his usual stalwart self in this excellent little B picture, the very first to deal with the results of the 7th Cavalry's disastrous loss to Crazy Horse's Sioux. Based upon Glendon's short story, "A Horse For Mrs. Custer," which is available in Easterns and Westerns, the Short Stories of Glendon Swarthout, from Michigan State University press in 2001.


"Hollywood hasn't produced many Westerns with the emotional warmth of 7th Cavalry . . . Miss Hale makes a beautiful heroine as the story builds up to a powerful impact and climatic ending." Lansing, Michigan Journal