Mass action, humorous byplay in the western cavalry outpost, deadly suspense, and romance are masterfully combined in this production [suggested by the story Massacre by James Warner Bellah]. Integrated with the tremendous action is a superb musical score by Richard Hageman, Score uses sound effects as tellingly as the music notes to point up the thrills. In particular, the massacre scene where the deadly drumming of the Indian ponies makes more potent the action that transpires.
Cast is as tremendous as the scope achieved by Ford’s direction and, as a consequence, some of the roles are very short but all effective. Henry Fonda is the colonel, embittered because he has been assigned to the remote fort after a brilliant war record.
John Wayne makes a virile cavalry captain, wise in the way of the Indian. Shirley Temple, the colonel’s daughter, perks her sequences in romance with John Agar, West Point graduate. Latter impresses. Pedro Armendariz is excellent as a sergeant. Making up a group of tough topkicks that are responsible for the film’s humor are Victor McLaglen, Dick Foran and Jack Pennick.