by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Chief Crazy Horse (1955)

Jack   C-

IMDB    5.8

Tribe(s) : Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone

Language : English



The movie opens with : "This is a true story, photographed in the Black Hills of the Dakotas, where it actually happened. It is the story of an American, a leader of his people, one of the great generals of all time - Chief Crazy Horse of the Lakota Sioux."

   The movie starts with a Major Twist coming back to look at the land where the Sioux once lived. He tells a story of long ago. A chief has been killed and the Sioux want to fight but the Sioux tribes are not united. A young boy, Crazy Horse, looks on.

   Years pass and the war between the states is now over and the whites are coming West. Promises are made to the Sioux and then broken. Crazy Horse is now grown and a leader of his people. When attacked by three Shoshone, he kills them all. Crazy Horse takes Black Shawl as a wife, but Little Big Man who also wanted her is not happy.

   When gold is discovered in the Black Hills, whites want to go in and Little Big Man is willing to help them. Indians begin to be killed as gold hunters swarm in. The troops and the Indians begin to fight. Crazy Horse took part in the Fetterman massacre, where about eighty US troops led by Captain Fetterman were killed by Sioux and Cheyenne led by Red Cloud.

   The Sioux then came in to the fort to try to negotiate. Crazy Horse doesn't believe the promises, because of all the promises that have been broken before. He says he wants to fight for his land. Little Big Man is now a member of the cavalry scouts.

   Crazy Horse takes on a role as leader even though it has been prophesied that the leader who unites the tribes will be betrayed and killed by the Lakota. The troops, with Shoshone scouts, come out looking for Crazy Horse and were again defeated by the Sioux at Rosebud. Next Custer led his men in and we know what happened to them.

   As the Sioux and Cheyenne are hunted and killed, Crazy Horse flees, but even he eventually heads to the reservation. Eventually it is Little Big Man who betrays and literally stabs Crazy Horse in the back and kills him, making the prophesy come true.

   The movie takes a positive view of the Indians and was told from their point of view. The greed of the whites is once again shown, as treaties are thrown aside when whites stand to profit. The movie is very unevenly filmed. Some of the movie is beautifully filmed in the Black Hills, but then grainy, stock footage is just thrown in. The story could also have been much better. For such an exciting subject it was pretty slow going. Victor Mature takes his turn as a pretty good white actor who had a hard time being convincing as a Native American. Major Twist was thrown in as a kind of Tom Jeffords role, but the character really just got in the way. Movie was OK, but should have been much better.