Red River (film)

Red River (film)

: "For other uses of this name, see Red River".Infobox Film | name = Red River

caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Howard Hawks
Arthur Rosson
producer = Howard Hawks
writer = Borden Chase
Charles Schnee
starring = John Wayne
Montgomery Clift
Walter Brennan
music = Dimitri Tiomkin
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = United Artists
released = September 30, 1948 (USA)
runtime = 133 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget =
imdb_id = 0040724

"Red River" is a 1948 Western film giving a fictional account of the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. The dramatic tension stems from a growing feud over the management of the drive, between the Texas rancher who initiated it (John Wayne) and his adopted adult son (Montgomery Clift).

The film was directed by Howard Hawks and, in addition to Wayne and Clift, also starred Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray, Harry Carey, John Ireland, Hank Worden, Noah Beery Jr. and Harry Carey, Jr.. Borden Chase wrote the script with Charles Schnee, based on Chase's story, "The Chisholm Trail."


Thomas Dunson (John Wayne) is a stubborn man who wants nothing more than to start up a successful cattle ranch in Texas. Shortly after he begins his journey to Texas with his trail hand, Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan), Dunson learns that his love interest (Coleen Gray), whom he had told to stay behind with the wagon train with the understanding that he would send for her later, was killed in an Indian attack. Despite this tragedy, Dunson and Groot press on, only to chance on an orphaned boy named Matthew Garth (played as an adult by Montgomery Clift), whom Dunson effectively adopts. With only a couple head of cattle, Dunson and the boy enter Texas by crossing the Red River and Dunson proudly proclaims all the land about them as his own. Two Mexican men appear on horseback and inform Dunson that the land already belongs to their boss. Dunson dismisses this inconvenient fact, kills one of the men, and tells the other man to inform his boss that Dunson now owns the land. Dunson names his new spread the Red River D, after his chosen cattle brand for his herd. Fatefully, he promises to add M (for Matt) to the brand, once Matt has earned it.

Fourteen years pass and Dunson now has a fully operational cattle ranch. With the help of Matt and Groot, his herd now numbers over a thousand cattle, but he is also broke as a result of having been on the losing side in the American Civil War. With the price of cattle in Texas not to his liking, Dunson decides to drive his massive herd hundreds of miles north to Missouri, where he believes they will fetch a much better price. After hiring some extra men to help out with the drive, they and cattle all set off on their perilous journey northwards. Along the way, they encounter many troubles, including a stampede caused when one of the men makes a sudden noise while trying to steal sugar from the chuck wagon.

Deeper problems arise when Dunson's tyrannical leadership style begins to affect the rest of the men and causes Matt to rebel. Eventually, Matt takes control of the drive in order to take it to the closer railhead in Abilene, Kansas, leaving Dunson behind. This naturally infuriates Dunson, who vows to track down Matt and murder him.

On the way to Abilene, Matt and his men repulse an Indian attack on a wagon train. One of the people they save is Tess Millay (Joanne Dru), who falls in love with Matt. Later she meets Dunson and offers to bear him a son if he'll let Matt live, but he refuses.

When Matt reaches Abilene, he finds men there who have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of such a herd to buy it; Matt happily accepts an excellent offer for the cattle. Unknowingly, he has just completed the first cattle drive along what would become the Chisholm Trail. Shortly thereafter, Dunson arrives in Abilene with a posse to follow through with his vow to kill Matt. The two men begin a furious fight, which Tess interrupts by drawing a gun on both men and demanding that they realize the love that they share for each other. Dunson and Matt see the error of their ways and make peace with each other. The film ends with Dunson telling Matt that he will incorporate an M into the brand as he had promised to do years before.


*John Wayne as Thomas Dunson
*Montgomery Clift as Matthew 'Matt' Garth
*Joanne Dru as Tess Millay
*Walter Brennan as 'Groot' Nadine
*Coleen Gray as Fen
*Harry Carey as Mr. Melville
*John Ireland as Cherry Valance
*Noah Beery Jr. as Buster McGee
*Harry Carey Jr. as Dan Latimer
*Chief Yowlachie as Quo
*Paul Fix as Teeler Yacey
*Hank Worden as Simms Reeves
*Ray Hyke as Walt Jergens
*Wally Wales as Old Leather
*Mickey Kuhn as Matt (as a boy)

Hawks had originally offered the role of Cherry Valance to Cary Grant. Grant, who had previously worked with Hawks as a leading man, declined the role because he did not deem it suitable or important enough. [cite video | people = Todd McCarthy | year = 2000 | title = His Girl Friday commentary track | url = | format = | medium = DVD | publisher = Columbia Tristar | location = | accessdate = 2007-06-07 | time = 01:15:00 | quote = Hawks had offered a major role in "Red River" to Cary Grant--the gunslinger character of, Cherry Valance, played by John Ireland eventually--but, Cary Grant didn't think it was exactly suitable and wasn't really an important enough role so he turned that down.] Shelley Winters appears uncredited as a dancer in a wagon train.


"Red River" was filmed in 1946 but not released until September 30, 1948, reportedly because Howard Hughes threatened legal action against Hawks and United Artists, claiming "Red River" was too similar to Hughes' film "The Outlaw" starring Jane Russell.Fact|date=June 2007

Footage from "Red River" was later incorporated into the opening montage of Wayne's last film, "The Shootist", to illustrate the backstory of Wayne's character.

Awards and recognition

The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Film Editing (Christian Nyby) and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. In 1990, "Red River" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

John Ford who worked with Wayne on many films (such as "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance") was so impressed with Wayne's performance that he is reported to have said, 'I didn’t know the big son of a bitch could act!' [ [] |accessdate=2008-09-21]

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Red River" was acknowledged as the fifth best film in the western genre. [cite news | author = American Film Institute | title = AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres | work = | date = 2008-06-17 | url = | accessdate= 2008-06-18] [cite web | title= Top Western | url = | publisher= American Film Institute |accessdate= 2008-06-18]

ee also

* John Wayne filmography (1941-1960)
* Harry Carey filmography


External links

* Internet Archive [ holds a March 7,1949 radio adaptation of the film] originally broadcast by Lux Radio Theater.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Red River (film) — La Rivière rouge Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rivière Rouge. La Rivière rouge Titre original Red River Réalisation Howard Hawks Arthur Rosson Acteurs principaux John Wayne M …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Red River (Film, 1948) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Red River (früher: Panik am roten Fluß) Originaltitel: Red River Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1948 Länge: 133 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Red Cliff (film) — Red Cliff American release poster Traditional 赤壁 Simplified …   Wikipedia

  • Red Dog (Film) — Filmdaten Originaltitel Red Dog Produktionsland Australien …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Red Desert (film) — Infobox Film | name = Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) image size =175px caption = Original Italian film poster director = Michelangelo Antonioni producer = Antonio Cervi writer = Michelangelo Antonioni Tonino Guerra starring = Monica Vitti Richard… …   Wikipedia

  • Red River — may refer to the following: Rivers and their namesakes * Red River (Mississippi watershed), a Mississippi River tributary flowing between Texas and Oklahoma ** Red River (film), USA ** Red River Campaign, a series of battles fought in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Red River Valley (1941 film) — See Also Red River (film) Red River Valley is a 1941 movie about life in the early 20th century.Film titleThe actual title of B. Reeves Kane s 1936 film is Man of the Frontier , although Red River Valley seems to be also connected to the search:… …   Wikipedia

  • Red River — (englisch für „Roter Fluss“) heißen mehrere Flüsse: der Red River of the North, verläuft durch Minnesota, North Dakota und Manitoba ins Red River Valley der Red River (Mississippi), Nebenfluss des Mississippi in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Red River (1948) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Red River Produktionsland USA …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Red River Valley (1997 film) — Infobox Film name = Red River Valley image size = caption = director = Feng Xiaoning producer = Shanghai Film Studio writer = Feng Xiaoning narrator = starring = Paul Kersey Ning Jing music = Jin Fuzai cinematography = editing = distributor =… …   Wikipedia