Funny that in the very last post I should have talked about the popularity in Westerns of those big model wooden forts and then the very next day there’s a good example on TV again. They showed The Savage.
This is an earnest version of the old yarn in which a wagon train is attacked by Indians and all the settlers are killed except a small boy who is adopted by the Sioux and brought up by their chief, Yellow Eagle. The whites, in breach of treaties, move into the Black Hills of Dakota and the young man is now conflicted: where do his loyalties lie?
There were earlier silents based on this idea and later movies too, such as Alan Ladd being raised by Indians and later joining the Mounties in Saskatchewan (Universal, 1954). Little Big Man too. ‘The Savage’ is meant semi-ironically because in these movies the hero brings peace between the red and white peoples and sometimes shows more civilizational attributes than the hard-liners on each side.
George Marshall directed (he did 50 Westerns from Across The Rio Grande in 1916 to Hec Ramsey in 1972, including Destry Rides Again, When The Daltons Rode, The Sheepman and part of How The West Was Won) and he did it with brio. There’s one scene looking over the green Black Hills from the fort with very many extras in the distance, so the budget was there. Paramount brought it out while George Stevens was up in Wyoming shooting their Shane so big Westerns were in. Yes, it’s worth a watch alright.