by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Comanche Territory (1950)

Jack   B-

IMDB    5.4

Tribe(s) : Comanche

Language : English



   Jim Bowie comes West to the land of the Comanches. He had become rich by deleing in sugar, but now he is trying to buy the rights to the Comanche silver for the government. He is out scouting when he picked up, tied up and used for target practice before Comanche Chief Quisima comes in to camp and lets him go. Quisima admires Bowie's knife, and Bowie soon has the Comanches making metal and creating copies of his famous Bowie knife.

Bowie met Daniel (Will Geer) during his adventure and Daniel told Bowie that he was supposed to deliver a treaty to the Comanches, but someone jumped him and took it. Someone does not want the treaty to go through. When Bowie and Daniel go in to town, aptly named Crooked Tongue, they meet Kate (Maureen O'Hara) and her brother Stacey who seem to run everything. We then find out that it is Kate and Stacey who have intercepted the treaty because they want the Comanches silver. Jim and Kate go out for a ride and are soon picked up by a band of Comanches.
Comanche Warrior (Iron Eyes Cody) : "Ugh"
Jim : "I thought the Comanche had a peace treaty with his white brothers."
Comanche Warrior : "Ugh"
Jim : "it seems that's his entire vocabulary. I think we better go with him."

   Back at the Comanche camp, Quisima sits with his council and wants Jim to sit with them. They smoke a pipe and pass it around, but Kate wants no part of it. Quisima's son Pakanah come to the council and says: "White man like bird that make sweet music but rob nest of others. He promise Comanche peace, while hand reaches for gun to slay him. Every day we see white men come across plain from direction of morning sun. He bring tools with him, not for planting of corn but for digging of silver. White man plan to betray Comanche. He will take his land. There will be no new treaty. Each day Comanche wait white man become stronger. Comanche must strike. At once. Tonight."
Quisima says that the council agrees with Pakanah, but Quisima knows Bowie speaks honestly, and if he says the new treaty is coming he will believe him. Bowie tells him on his word of honor that the new treaty has been renewed and sent here from Washington. Pakanah calls him a liar and they fight hand to hand, but Bowie doesn't get to use his knife. He still wins and forces Pakanah to say: "White man tell truth."

   Kate tells Jim that he wouldn't understand why she wants the silver. Her father and grandfather had come out here to try to make something of this wilderness. She thinks that if people are able to mine the silver, they will come settle and make something of the land, and the Indians and the Federal government aren't going to stop them. Jim convinces Katie that the country will develop on its own without stealing the silver from the Indian. They talk to Stacey about giving the Indians the treaty, but he has already destroyed it.

   Stacey, Jim and Katie decide to throw a big party, where everything is free, to let everyone know about the new plans. Katie sings another song to entertain at the party. Kate then tells the people that there is a new treaty and no one can move in on the Comanche territory. The silver will be mined legally and there will be a lot of work for everyone. The crowd agrees and Katie smiles.

   But Stacey is really not on board. He takes a group on men and they are going to move in on Comanche territory tonight. Stacey has added a clause to the treaty. The Comanches must give up all guns. Stacey brings the amended treaty to Quisima who agrees to give up guns, since they are going to live in peace. Bowie and Daniel join the Comanches who are now without their guns.

   Katie goes and talks to her brother but can't convince him to change his plans. Stacey and his men moved in and the Comanches are ready to defend their land with their bows and arrows. Kate comes with a wagon that has the Indians' guns on them and the battle turns in the Indians' favor. Stacey flees and Bowie chases him down. Jim tells Kate that as soon as his finishes his business with Mr. Houston he will be back.

   It's kind of strange to throw a historical character in to an event he had no part of. But the movie was beautifully filmed and Maureen O'Hara always looks good in technicolor. The movie has good production values but the dialogue was pretty weak. It does show how Indians' rights were, as usual, ignored when they got in the way of white men making a profit. This movie was a little different in that it did have an American hero standing up to the greed of the settlers and supporting the Indians. The movie also showed, although this was not its intent, that if the settler's couldn't steal the silver the government would move in and do it legally. Either way the Comanches lose. There's a lot more truth in this movie than it originally intended to show.