Classic Westerns: The Way West/The Bravados/Broken Arrow [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Broken Arrow
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

The Bravados
Brooding Gregory Peck arrives in a small western town to witness the hanging of the men whom he holds responsible for the murder of his wife (they've been arrested for an unrelated crime). Through the help of a duplicitous executioner, the gang escapes--taking Kathleen Gallant as hostage. The vengeful Peck hunts the fugitives down and kills them in cold blood. He is forced to ask himself if he's any better than the criminals when he discovers that the fugitives, though justly convicted of murder, had nothing to do with his wife's death. The Bravados is as grim and compelling as the earlier Henry King/Gregory Peck western The Gunfighter. And yes, that's "Curly" Joe DeRita, of Three Stooges fame, in the role of the menacing hangman. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Way West
Senator William J. Tadlock (Kirk Douglas) enlists the help of veteran scout Dick Summers (Robert Mitchum) to lead a wagon train of settlers from Missouri to Oregon in this plodding, routine western. A scared settler accidently shoots an Indian boy who is mistaken for a wolf, prompting Summers to order newlywed triggerman Johnny Mack (Michael Witney) to be hanged to avoid an Indian attack. Sally Field appears in her first big-screen role as the slatternly Mercy McBee. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • James Stewart
    James Stewart - Tom Jeffords
  • Jeff Chandler
    Jeff Chandler - Cochise
  • Debra Paget
    Debra Paget - Sonseeahray
  • Basil Ruysdael
    Basil Ruysdael - Gen. Howard
  • Will Geer
    Will Geer - Ben Slade
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