by Jack Nilan            EMail :

The Indian Fighter(1955)

Jack   C

IMDB    6.4

Tribe(s) : Sioux

Language : English



Red Cloud: "Johnny Hawks, I was told you were dead."
Johnny Hawks: :Somebody lied. I did a little fighting in the war, that's all."
Red Cloud: "White against white. We were hoping you would kill each other off."
Johnny Hawks: :Somebody lied. I did a little fighting in the war, that's all."
Red Cloud: "White against white. We were hoping you would kill each other off."
Johnny Hawks: : "It didn't last that long."
Red Cloud: "Too bad."

   The movie gets off to a shaky start as a pretty Indian girl named Onhati heads to the river, taking off her clothes on the way. Riding up on a horse is the Indian Fighter Johnny Hawks (Kirk Douglas). Grey Wolf shoots an arrow next to his head and says "Next time i kill you." Johnny then rides in to the Sioux camp. Later that night Johnny grabs Onhati and violently begins kissing her. She tries to stab him, and then runs away.

   Two "bad" whites (Walter Matthau and Lon Chaney) ride up to the camp looking to trade gold for whiskey. When an Indian tells them to go away he is shot. The Sioux quickly capture Wes Todd (Matthau). Johnny then fights Grey Wolf in a duel, because he wants Todd as a witness to the murder. Johnny, of course, wins and spares the now disgraced Grey Wolf's life.

   Johnny then brings Todd to the fort to get punished. When Johnny gets to the fort he finds the other bad white guy, Chivington (Chaney), who had shot the Indian, and brings him to the captain who gets locked up. At the fort, Susan Rogers (Diana Douglas, Kirk's first wife) falls for Johnny. Then Red Cloud brings in the tribe to see justice.

   Elisha Cook plays Briggs, who photographs the beautiful nature scenes that the whites are about to destroy. Johnny leads a wagon train with Susan on it through Sioux territory. Susan would like to tame Johnny, but he isn't interested. He says: "I ain't fit for marriage." (Diana Douglas would probably agree with this later.)

   Johnny runs in to Onhati again, pulls her by the hair, and this time she succumbs to his charm (it was really an awful scene). The Indians come in to camp and Crazy Bear soon gets drunk. Before you know it shooting breaks out and Grey Wolf gets killed. The Indians get painted up, beat on drums, dance and start singing. The Indians are on the warpath. Johnny kills two Indians who attack him. When Johnny heads back to the fort he is seized by people who think he has joined with the "reds." The Captain sets him free but doesn't know what side he is on.

   The Indians attack the fort shooting fire arrow, fire wagons and fire balls thrown from sticks. Johnny and some troops ride out and intercept a fire wagon and many of the Indians are shot as they ride around the fort. Johnny then rides out to find the men who killed the Indians. Johnny goes to Onhati and she takes him to where the gold is, and they find the bad guys mining and kill one and bring one with them to the Sioux camp.

   Johnny tries to talk Red Cloud out of fighting and then tells him that he and Onhati are going to be together. This convinces Red Cloud that they must walk the path of peace. Johnny is now the hero and the movie ends with Johnny and Onhati in the river.

   Not a great movie but it does present a positive view of Indians who were more interesting in preserving their lands the way they were rather than to take money and profit off of them. Overall, the story was pretty weak.