by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Fort Vengeance (1953)

Jack   C-

IMDB    6.0

Tribe(s) : Sioux, Blackfeet

Language : English



   Two brothers being chased by a posse head up in to Canada to escape. Carey Ross is the "bad" brother and he quickly shoots and kills a Sioux for no reason. The brothers soon see Sitting Bull and some warriors who have also escaped up in to Canada.

The brothers find a fort that is looking for men to join the Northwest Mounted Police. Dick and Carey Ross both sign on. Meanwhile Sitting Bull is telling the local Blackfeet Indians about his troubles in the US and his victory over Yellow Hair.

Chief Crowfoot tells Sitting Bull that they are peace with the whites. Inspector Trevett comes out and welcomes Sitting Bull. He tells Sitting Bull that they will be treated fairly here. One of the Sioux recognize Carey as the one who killed his friend. Sitting Bull sends out a war party to kill some settlers. He thinks that he can force the Blackfeet to join him. The Sioux shoot settlers in the back and burn down their farms.

Inspector Trevett follows the attackers back to the Sioux camp. Chief Crowfoot lets Trevett take the Sioux back to the fort. Broken Lance is then sentenced and then hanged. Sitting Bull then holds a war council, but Chief Crowfoot refuses to join. Chief Crowfoot threatens to join the whites if Sitting Bull pursues his war.

Meanwhile back at the Fort, Carey gets in a fight with another soldier. When Carey finds a trapper stealing some Indian furs, he decides to join in. The trapper becomes a suspect and Carey shoots him before he can be arrested. Carey casts suspicion on Chief Crowfoot's son and he is arrested. The tribes may go to war if he is convicted. Dick Ross discovers what his brother has done and heads out after him.

Dick finds his brother and tries to bring him back but an Indian who was following shoots and kills Carey before he can harm his brother. Dick has averted the Indian wars and saved the day.

From a historical point of view the movie did get some things correct. Sitting Bull did flee to Canada after the battle of Little Big Horn to evade pursuing troops. He was welcomed to a country which had a much friendlier Indian policy than the U.S. He did meet Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfeet and made peace with the traditional enemy. He stayed in Canada for four years, but it was the lack of buffalo that eventually led him to lead the small band he had left back to the U.S.

This movie, like so many others used the device of a good Indian and a bad Indian. Crowfoot and Sitting Bull played the two roles, but there wan't much drama, and it was historically inaccurate.

The movie portrays Sitting Bull as someone who was intent on returning to the US and driving the "Long Knives" out, but at this point that wasn't true. He just wanted to live in peace, but unfortunately the harsh Canadian climate made it hard for the Sioux to live off the land.

Not a bad movie, but it should have been so much better. It had some good history but some bad history as well. It portrayed Sitting Bull and Crowfoot as the bad Indian a d good Indians to go along with the parallel story of the good and bad brothers. An interesting historical episode not explored very well.