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Broken Arrow ()

directed by
featuring James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget, Basil Ruysdael, Will Geer

Indian scout Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) is sent out to stem the war between the Whites and Apaches in the late 1870s. He learns (through an uncomfortably close encounter) that the Indians kill only to protect themselves, or out of retaliation for white atrocities. Befriending the sagacious Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), Jeffords ensures safe passage for white mail-carriers through Indian territory. As he becomes closer to his Native American "brothers", Jeffords falls in love with and weds a pretty Apache girl (Debra Paget). This being a 1950 film (miscegenation was frowned upon by the Production Code), you can guess what happens to her. Jeffords wants to avenge his bride's death at the hands of white renegades, but it is the so-called "savage" Cochise who advises him not to. Having learned much from each other, Jeffords and Cochise symbolize the white/Indian detente with the traditional broken arrow. This superb, non-condescending film has been criticized in some circles because of the alleged depiction of Cochise as an Indian "Uncle Tom", and because actor Jeff Chandler was not a genuine Native American. Nonetheless, Broken Arrow stands the test of time far more successfully than the later, politically correct Dances with Wolves. In 1956, Broken Arrow was adapted into a TV series starring John Lupton as Jeffords and Michael Ansara as Cochise. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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Reviews of Broken Arrow

Overall customer rating: 4.000

Overall Good

by Medley on May 24, 2012

This would probably be better as a three star movie since the plot was predictable but Jimmie Stewart saved the day. He was natural in the role and gave a very convincing performance. Stewart plays Tom Jeffords who is caught between the Apaches and the settlers. While he had not been taking part, Jeffords soon becomes determined too just stop the bloodshed. He also finds that the Indians are being wronged and tries to help them. Jeffords impresses the Apaches with his understanding of their ways and his bravery and becomes friends with the great chief Cochise. He also falls in love with a young Indian woman and this strengthens his loyalty to the Indians while making his relations with the whites worse. Eventually Jeffords helps negotiate a treaty but then his work is cut out for him to keep both sides to comply. Aside from the ending being predictable, I think that it is still a watchable, if not very feel-good movie.

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