The Last Wagon1956
The Last Wagon (1956)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
The Last Wagon Photos
as Comanche Tod
as Gen. Howard
as Col. Normand
as Bull Harper
as Lt. Kelly
as Cole Harper
as Mrs. Clinton
as Apache Medicine Man
Critic Reviews for The Last Wagon
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Audience Reviews for The Last Wagon
An efficiently exciting good ole' fashioned western that very much compensates for its cliches by being a cracking story. It's also beautifully shot against the glorious high plains (which is a cliche in itself of course, but one I can certainly live with) with a good dollop of social conscience hand wringing thrown in to make us whities feel good about ourselves - even if, at best, the Indians perspective is still ignored, the white man is shown to be more brutal (despite fudging things a little with the rather smug wishful thinking of the ending)
Comanche Todd (Richard Widmark), a white man reared by Comanche Indians, is captured by Sheriff Bull Harper, who has accused Todd of murdering three of his brothers. The two stumble upon a few covered wagons with mostly women and children and tag along with them until Sheriff Harper can get his prisoner back to town for a proper hanging. When a group of the younger people sneak off for a midnight swim they return to find that Apaches have killed everyone except Widmark who is halfway down a cliff still tied to the wagon. Widmark comes to the aid of the teenagers and must lead them to safety through Apache territory. The group of frightened tenderfeet are evenly divided between those who like him and those think he is an Indian-loving murderer. One of the ladies in the wagon train is angry because her father was previously married to an American-Indian and she has a half-sister as a result. There is obviously much hatred of the 'half-breed' sister and the racist feelings the white sister feels towards her. This is a film that every true Western-lover should have on the shelves of his/her DVD collection. Great Stuff and well worth the watch!
Richard Widmark elevates this okay western into something better then it would be without him, enjoyable until the puerile ending. Susan Kohner is fine in support, always an interesting presence in films its a shame she retired so early.