by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Sitting Bull (1954)

Jack   D+

IMDB    5.6

Tribe(s) : Sioux

Language : English



   The movie opens with Sitting Bull speaking in a voice over, tells about the predicament the Sioux are in with the white men coming to look for gold. Crazy Horse. played by Iron Eyes Cody, who wants to fight, but Sitting Bull is more cautious. The Sioux attack a wagon train but then Major Robert Parrish and the 7th Cavalry comes and runs them off.

   Parrish is sympathetic to the Indians and loses his fiancee, Kathy Howell, and gets in trouble with Custer and his commanding officer, General Howell, because of it. Parrish is reassigned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and soon clashes with the Indian agent. He won't have his men shoot Sioux escaping from the reservation. Marshall is arrested and Kathy leaves.

   Sitting Bull's son was killed in the escape and Crazy Horse wants war. Sitting Bull is still undecided.

   President Grant was Marshall's old commander, and they meet in Washington. Marshall talks about the Sioux, and how Sitting Bull is holding the Sioux in check. He asks president Grant to bring Sitting Bull to Washington. Grant demotes him to Captain, but tells Marshall to arrange the meeting.

   Parrish uses some captured Sioux, including Sam, a former slave, to bring him to Sitting Bull. You then get the challenge that most Indian movies have and parrish and Crazy Horse have a knife fight and of course Parrish wins and spares Crazy Horse. Sitting Bull agrees to a secret meeting with President Grant and it looks like there will no war.

   When Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse see custer they can't believe it. Custer's scouts attack some Sioux, and Custer goes off and gets himself and all his men killed. Parrish then tries to lead the Sioux to safety, and is court martialed and sentenced to the firing squad. Sitting Bull comes to the fort, and talks Grant out of the execution. Grant then discharges him from the service.

   Not really a movie about Sitting Bull and really bad history. It was more a movie about the (fictional) good white man, Robert Parrish and about his relationship with Kathy. Kind of a shame. One of the great Native American leaders, and this is the biography he got. The movie was, in general, sympathetic to the Sioux though.