by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Brave Warrior (1952)

Jack   D

IMDB    4.7

Tribe(s) : Shawnee

Language : English



A movie starring two actor who got famous playing Indians in TV shows. Jay Silverheels played Tonto in the Lone Ranger and Michael Ansara played Cochise on the TV show of the same name. Here they played brothers. Silverheels plays Tecumseh and Ansara plays The Prophet.

In early 1800's Indiana, the US and England are conflicted over territory and bounders. Both sides try to get the local Shawnee on their side. The movie saying it is the story of two men and a town: Steve Ruddell, and Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee who lived in Tippecanoe. When a salt delivery to the Shawnee is sabotaged The Prophet speaks to his people blaming the Americans for their troubles. he wants to take up the hatchet against the Americans. Tecumseh says that he will go to Governor William Henry Harrison and Steve Rudell to see what happened to their salt shipment.

The Prophet led a raid on the town to get salt and the sides are drawn. Tecumseh sides with the Americans and the Prophet is siding with the British (although in real life Tecumseh was a leader in the fight against Americans in the war of 1812).

The movie gets bogged down in a silly love story. Steve and Laura McGregor grew up with Tecumseh and Tecumseh is in love with Laura, and Laura is in love with Steve and Laura's father secretly supports the British against the Americans.

We get the required duel between the brothers with hatchets. Tecumseh wins, of course, and kicks his brother and his followers out of camp. Steve wants Tecumseh to build a town for his people with houses, a school and a church and flower gardens, just "lie a white man's town". Tecumseh says: "It would be proof to every tribe that the white man and the Indian could live together."

A movie made two years after Broken Arrow, tries to cash in the popularity of that movie. It distorts history, putting the "good Indian" Tecumseh on the American side, even though he really led the fight against them. The "bad Indian", The Prophet, gets an eye patch and is put on the British side.

Many movie have historical distortions, but this one is particularly insidious. It takes Tecumseh, who was a hero and a patriot to the Shawnee, and it turns him in to a man who would betray his people because of his love for a white woman. Bad history, bad story, bad writing, bad movie.