She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) Script


Custer is dead. And around the bloody guidon of the immortal 7th Cavalry...

... lie 212 officers and men. The Sioux and Cheyenne are on the warpath. By military telegraph, news of the Custer massacre...

... is flashed across the long, lonely miles to the Southwest.

By stagecoach to the 100 settlements and the 1000 farms...

... standing under threat of an Indian uprising. Pony Ezpress riders know that one more such defeat as Custer's...

... and it'd be a hundred years before a wagon train crossed the plains. And from the Canadian border to the Rio Bravo, 10,000 Indians...

... Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, Sioux and Apache...

... under Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gall and Crow King...

... are uniting in a common war against the United States Cavalry.

Come on!


That's old Major Cheadle, the paymaster!

Yeah. Looks like we ain't going to get paid for another three months.

Wherever the flag rises over some lonely Army post...

... there may be one man...

... fated to wield the sword of destiny.

Good morning, sir. 5:42, sir. 5:41!

And a lovely day it is, sir. Colder than blazes.

Mrs. Jameson's had her baby.

The stagecoach to Sudro's Wells has been discontinued.

A dispatch rider arrived from the Paradise River Patrol.

Private MaclKenzie got hisself shot.

Boy or a girl?

A little trooper, sir.

When does the coach stop running?

It's finished. Stopped. No more coach.

MaclKenzie? Is he dead? Yes, sir.

Good man, MaclKenzie.

Made corporal, five or six years.

You got breath like a hot mince pie!

You know I took the pledge after Chapultepec...

And Bull Run and Gettysburg and Shiloh.

And Saint Patrick's Day and Fourth of July.

Captain... Beats me where you hide the stuff.

Six more days. Six more days and I retire.

The Army will never be the same. It's always the same.

The sun and moon change. The Army knows no seasons.

We're in our prime and they're turning us out! It's an abuse of taxes!

The only tax you've paid is whiskey tax. Ready?

Ready, sir!

Morning, gentlemen.

Good morning, sir.

Well, carry on.

Good morning, Mrs. Brown.

Hold up!

Mr. Cohill...

...inspection.

That's Tyree and the Paradise River Patrol.

Yeah.

Report, sergeant. Gunshot wound. Dead when I found him.

Where? Near Red Butte, sir.

Horses were about to give in, sir.

Money box is gone, sir.

Cheadle?

What do you make of the wound, doctor?

I'll need an hour, major. Fetch him to the hospital.

Not IKiowa.

No, not Comanche nor Arapahos either, with those color bands.

Sir?

All right, put in your two cents' worth.

Arrows with yellow, white and red are the sign of the Southern Cheyenne.

I've seen Bannocks and Snakes use the same.

That's very true. But look at the clan mark on this arrow.

It's the sign of the dog.

That came from the bow of a Southern Cheyenne Dog Soldier.

What would they be doing this far south?

That ain't my department, sir.

Alert the post, sergeant. Yes, sir.

Get some rest, Tyree. Thank you, sir.

Just a moment, Mr. Pennell, if you please!

Lieutenant, the post is closed. Sorry, Miss Dandridge.

Sorry, indeed! Mr. Cohill, haven't you anything better to do...

...than make yourself obnoxious?

If you have complaints about my orders...

...submit them to Major Allshard in writing.

Duplicate or triplicate? Don't be a spoilsport.

That's what he is.

I wouldn't trust you to take me out so you're hazing Pennell.

Drive. Do that and I'll arrest you!

You wouldn't! Someone arresting you?

Lieutenant Cohill. He's decided he can order me around...

I was following orders... You're at attention. Please proceed.

I don't want to make a scene. I'm sure he's a fine officer.

I know his father and his sister.

But he's decided Pennell hasn't rank enough to be seen in my company.

Sir, if I could just... You're at attention.

Do you wish to further amplify your complaint?

Complaint? Captain Brittles, I'm not complaining.

I love Fort Starke and adore the entire cavalry.

Our pleasure, ma'am. Yes, indeed.

Mr. Cohill, wipe that grin off your face.

You have the floor.

I have denied Mr. Pennell permission to leave the post.

For what purpose did you wish to leave the post, Mr. Pennell?

Picnicking, sir.

Picnicking?

Picnicking, Miss Dandridge? Where, in St. Louis?

The waterfall. I'm sorry...

Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness.

Mr. Cohill, I see no reason why Mr. Pennell should not go picnicking.

Very good, sir.

Thank you, captain.

But he was right in denying you permission to leave...

...under the present emergency.

So may I escort you to your quarters?

You may proceed with your picnic, Mr. Pennell.

You may pass Lt. Pennell, sergeant. Pass Lt. Pennell!

Pass Lt. Pennell!

Where are you holding your picnic?

At Delmonico's in New York in two months with Olivia on my arm!

And I won't be wearing any blue suit either, bub!


Here's the last report on Custer's outfit:

"Two hundred twelve dead on the Little Big Horn.

Headquarters expects hard and bloody winter.

Sitting Bull preaching holy war.

Take all necessary precautions."

Here's the list. I expect you knew most of them.

"George Armstrong Custer...

...Tom Custer...

...Boston Custer...

...Calhoun...

...Cook...

...Crittendon...

...Harrington...

...lKeogh."

Miles IKeogh.


Well, Mary...

...only six more days to go...

...and your old Nathan will be out of the Army.

Haven't decided what I'll do yet.

Somehow, I just can't picture myself...

...back there on the banks of the Wabash...

...rocking on the front porch.

No, I've been thinking...

...l'd maybe push on West.

New settlements, California.

We had some sad news today, Mary.

George Custer was killed. His whole command.

Miles IKeogh. You remember Miles.

Happy-go-lucky Irishman.

Who used to waltz so well with you.

Yeah, I know. I guess I was a little jealous.

Never could waltz myself.

Well, I'm taking the troop out in the morning. Cheyennes around.

I'm to pick up the patrols and drive them on back north.

It'll probably be my last mission, Mary.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Hard to believe.


I hope I'm not intruding, captain.

But I've watched you come out here to your family...

...and so I brought you this.

I appreciate this very much.

It's cyclamen. It's a Greek word. It means rabbit's ears.

My wife called them flaming arrows.

She was fond of gardening.

I'm sorry I was such a fool this morning.

You made a fool of two lieutenants. That's never against regulations.

Then I'm forgiven? Forgiven!

Good night, captain.

Good night, miss.

Thank you.

She's a nice girl, Mary.

Reminds me of you.

Time, sir.

Well, old comrade, the last patrol, eh?

Yeah. The last of many.

Five more. Three.

Five more! Three!

Can't you count?

I mean three more weeks before I retire, sir.

Well, days, weeks, what's the difference?

You gonna stand there? Sorry.

Don't apologize. It's a sign of weakness.

Ready? Ready, sir.

Good morning.

Hochbauer! Morning.

Well, once again, De Rice, huh? Yes, sir.

Good morning, men.

What's this? Hochbauer! Yes, sir.

What's this? Orders by Major Allshard.

There's no wagon goes on this patrol. Orders, sir.

Orders, huh? Yes, sir.

Morning, sir.

Sidesaddle, Riley? Sidesaddle, sir.

Sidesaddle!

Major Allshard, what in blazes...? I know. The wagon.

Yes. A wagon full of women's junk!

I can't hamper this patrol. Particularly this patrol.

I'm sending my wife and her niece. They'll go as far as Sudro's Wells.

They'll head east from there. That's an order.

I protest. I expected you to. Put it in writing.

I intend to!

Nathan, I sat up half the night with this.

I can't keep the Dandridge girl here. She ain't Army.

I'll say! For these reasons. Coffee?

One... No. Yes.

There is a party of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers raiding this territory.

I think every woman... How many R's in "territory"?

Two.

Men, I want you to pay strict attention to what I gotta say.

There's going to be women with this column...

...and I want you men to watch them words.

Watch them words! Watch them grammar!

Whose dog is this?

Whose dog is this?

Nice dog. Irish setter.

Poor Abby. She says everyone will think she's running away.

It'll be tough on me. I'll be a bachelor all winter.

In conclusion, I respectfully protest...

...the decision of my commanding officer...

...to saddle his troop with his female relations...

One L. At this critical hour.

Signed Nathan Brittles, so forth.

Sounds good. Give it to me, I'll file it.

Hochbauer. Yes, sir.

This is a hard decision for you to make. Gonna miss Abby.

Hate to hamstring you, but you will take precautions?

Mac. Forget it.

As you were, Hochbauer. Well, here I am, all ready.

How did he take the idea of old Iron Pants riding with him?

Under protest, my dear. A written protest, of course.

Always my pleasure to escort old Iron Pants.

As long as you're going along, we'll...

That is the dad-blastedest outfit I ever saw. Quincannon's old britches!

Yes.

Good morning, Mr. Cohill. Good morning.

I hope you approve of my uniform.

Yes, indeed. It's very lovely, Olivia.

So Ross has branded you with his yellow ribbon.

How do you know it isn't for you, mister?

I'd be very happy if I thought it were for me.

Very happy indeed.

Morning! Trooper Dandridge reporting for duty.

Well, proper trooper! Right pretty, don't you think?

I do indeed.

A yellow ribbon? You know what that means here? A sweetheart.

It does? Who's it for?

Why, for you, Captain Brittles.

For me! I'll make these young bucks jealous.

Good morning. You look nice.

I hope Ross notices that yellow ribbon.

I hope you're wearing that yellow ribbon for me.

Why, who else would I be wearing it for, Ross?


Right by twos!


Report.

Trailed Mr. Rynder's buckboard, sir, a mile below the Painted Post.

Painted Post? Met two men in a wagon.

IKnow who they were? No, sir.

Didn't seem prudent to inquire.

What do you suppose they're doing that far south?

Well, that ain't my department, sir.

We'll pick them up on our next go-round. Take a point.


Sergeant? Yes, sir.

Right through that pass.

Romantic, isn't it?

Guidons gaily fluttering. Bronzed men lustily singing.

Horses prancing. Bunions aching.

Must you always be so vulgar, Mr. Cohill?

The cavalry isn't refined, miss. Cavalry.

Ridiculous business of dismounting and walking every hour.

Might as well be in the infantry.

We would be, if we didn't ease these mounts. Ride in the wagon.

No. Why don't they put springs in the wagons?

The men said they'd rather have finger bowls.

Terribly funny, Mr. Cohill.

Greens and milk. Oh, the Army!

I planted 24 gardens in the first 10 years of our marriage.

We never stayed long enough to see a single bloom.

May I ride back? I'd rather share the dust with Mr. Pennell.

Haven't you thrown enough dust in his eyes?

Mr. Cohill, relieve Mr. Pennell with the rear guard.

Are you enjoying your walk out? Oh, yes. Yes, I am.


Can you make them out? They look like Arapahos.

They're moving the whole village, wagons, lodges and all.


Yeah.

I don't know where you got your brains...

...but God must have given you that pair of eyes. They're Arapahos.

Heading the same way we are.

Why would they be moving on Sudro's Wells? Answer me that.

My mother didn't raise any sons to be making guesses before a captain.

Well, I'd soon find out if...

We can't risk it with those women.

Officer's call. Yes, sir.


Are those hostile Indians? Will you fight them?

Rejoin the column. Captain!

Get back in line and keep your interval.

I don't like it, Mr. Cohill. Arapahos, sir?

We're turning east. Give them a wide berth.

Approach Sudro's Wells from Twin Forks. We'll lose time.

The ladies may miss the stage. You'd rather they miss their scalps?

Take the column, Mr. Cohill.

I'm sorry, sir. I didn't... Shut up!


You're relieved. I'm taking over the rear guard.

Glad you're going. He hasn't spoken to me in three hours.

"The ladies may miss the stage." He won't talk to you in three days.

It'll be his last chance to. So you're still gonna resign.

Through channels. I'll tear it up.

Every lieutenant has three resignations in his first tour of duty.

You forget, I don't have to depend on cavalry pay.

That's right, I had forgotten your silver spoon.

But I'll bet Miss Dandridge hasn't. How'd you like to pull your blouse?

I'll hold your coat, Lieutenant Pennell.

Take your hooks out of Ross. He'll make a fine officer.

You're not his guardian or mine. I'm telling you anyway.

He's a spoiled kid. The Army's his only chance...

...so if you can't take the Army, leave him alone!


Buffalo!

Buffalo, Mr. Cohill. Yes, sir.

The first time the herd's been this far north since the summer of '68.

You never saw a buffalo, Mr. Pennell? No, sir.

Before your time.

Sergeant Quincannon, escort the ladies forward, please.

Aunt Abby, that's really buffalo! Yes, it's buffalo.

That's a lot of buffalo. It reminds me of the old days.

When whiskey was 50 cents a gallon.

I'd love a taste of buffalo meat. Me too. Ain't never had it.

Beans is safer, you mark my word.

There'll be Injuns around that herd thicker than flies.

What's your thinking? Don't say it ain't your department.

Captain, I ain't getting paid for thinking.

I read it this way. If I was a young hot-blood like Red Shirt...

...anxious to show off for them Cheyenne Dog Soldiers...

...l'd be down at them council fires tonight telling...

...that I made the medicine that brought back the buffalo.

I'd tell them about the Great Spirit. How us Injuns should stick together...

...quit quarreling...

...and join our Cheyenne brothers that whipped General Custer...

...and drove out the rest of them Yankees.

Yeah, that's what I'd tell them.

Of course, I'm just guessing, you understand, captain.

Of course, I'm just guessing too, sergeant.

But if I was an Indian agent, maybe named Mr. Rynders...

...and I'd met a couple of men who might be gunrunners...

...l'm guessing I'd be mighty close to Red Shirt's council fire...

...ready to do a land-office business in repeating rifles.

Lf that's the case, why don't we...? Miss Dandridge and her chaperone.

IKeep it up. That's all I ask, just keep it up!

Sergeant, make for the Paradise River. Pick up our patrol there.

Head to Sudro's Wells. Hold the stagecoach for the ladies.

Tell them I've been delayed! Take the column, Mr. Cohill!


Ladies, to the rear!

Mr. Cohill!

First two sets of fours, forward!

Take the column, Mr. Cohill.


It's Quayne's patrol. It's Quayne's patrol, men. Hold your fire!

Sound recall.

Over here!

Come this way!

Grab him! Hurry, grab him!

All right, Mike? All right, my boy?

Commence firing, men!

Shoot over their heads! Drive them back.


Handle him easy, men.

Corporal Quayne, sir. Reporting with Paradise River Patrol.

Arapahos jumped us.

It was Red Shirt himself! The black-hearted...

Shut up, McCarthy! Quiet, I'm making this report!

Easy, Mike, easy.

They had us ringed. At night, we got away.

Made it to the relief point, but you weren't there, sir.

I wanted to be there, corporal. Proceed.

They flushed us at dawn, sir, and I got this.

A good, clear report.

It'll show on your record when you come up for that extra stripe.

Thank you, sir.

Sound for the wagon.

Easy, fella.

Good work, McCarthy. Good work, men!

We'll get you a little whiskey, Quayne! You'll be all right.

Doctor! Quayne? How is he?


Cheyennes, Laddy.

Same ones that killed them Yankee soldiers with General Custer.


Easy, boy. Let's go!

The arrowhead's right over Quayne's heart. It's got to come out.

It's a risky operation at best. Can you halt?

You know I can't!

For 30 minutes. Twenty minutes, for a man's life?

I can't give you five minutes, not if he was my son.

He's a soldier. He'll have to take a risk.

He knows that. I'm the one that's begging.

I'll give you all I can. Troop, halt! Dismount, lead!

Thank you, Nathan.

Hold your step in the ranks!


I'm ready. As slow as you can.

Here, Mike, another slug. After you, ma'am, if you please.

All right, down it goes.

Blasphemy and ribaldry at a time like this!

Breathe deep, Mike.

Again.

Easy, Mike. Easy.

Call him. Captain Brittles!

Captain Brittles!

Here it is. I had to... Blast the details, how is he?

I think I can safely say he'll live to make sergeant.

Troop, halt!

Pass the word, Quayne's doing fine!

Prepare to mount!

Mount!

Forward!

Thanks, soldier.

I'm happy about Quayne.

Why? He's just another dogface soldier in dirty-shirt blue.

What's it to you if he lives or die? Did you ever dance with him?

Or speak to him? Did you ever even look at him?

No, of course you didn't. No officer's bars, not a gentleman.

I'm finding that lieutenant's bars are no guarantee of a gentleman.

You're glad about Quayne.

It puts the happy ending to the story you'll take back to your tea parties.

Now you've seen a real Indian fight, a man with an arrow in his chest.

Mr. Cohill... That should make your tour perfect!

Mrs. Allshard's having a rough time back there, Miss Dandridge.

Would you spell her for a while? Certainly, captain. And thank you.

Mr. Cohill, did anyone ever take down your britches and tan your hide?

No, sir. That is, yes, sir. My father, sir, with a strap.

Well, I'm just old enough to be your father, bub. Take the point!

They'll make a fine, boisterous couple when they're married.

Forward, trot!


Women in the rear!

"Women to the rear." Doesn't he...? Shut your gob! You talk too much.

Go back to the rear, darling, and I'll give you a big kiss.

You'd better go. I'd hate to be kiss...

Shut up!

First two sets forward! Gallop!


I'm glad to see you. Sorry to be late, Tyree. Report.

Cheyenne Dog party, about 30 Arapahos with them.

Well, that blows the lid, doesn't it?


Ma and Pa Sudro, sir.

Did the children see it? No, they were hiding in the house.

Tyree, it's about time I did retire.

Sir? Would you take a look at Trooper Smith?

Don't bother about me, captain. Trust you'll forgive my presumption.

I'd like to commend this boy for how he handled his action.

In the best tradition of the cavalry. I take that very kindly, sir.

Captain Tyree.

Captain Tyree! Speak to him.

Thank you. Yes, sir!

Sir! Sir!

I'm afraid he can't hear you, captain.


Why, Palmer. Why, Carey Sue!

Do you remember me? I'm Mrs. Soldier.

You came over and visited me at the fort. We had a party, remember?

See to your troop, Mr. Cohill! Yes, sir.

Mr. Pennell, picket lines! Yes, sir.

You don't have to say it, captain. I know all this is because of me.

Because I wanted to see the West.

Because I wasn't Army enough to stay the winter.

You're not quite Army yet, miss. Never apologize, it's a weakness.

This was your last patrol. I'm to blame.

Only the man who commands can be blamed. It rests on me.

Mission, failure!

Well, we missed the stage, Miss Dandridge.

Well, that's the best I can do.

I ran out of red flannel petticoats.

That's kind of you. Sure appreciate it.

We thank you kindly. I'm proud to do it.

"I am the resurrection and the life, sayeth the Lord.

He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

And whoso believeth in me shall never die.

I know my redeemer liveth...

...and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."

I commend to your keeping, sir...

...the souls of John Sudro and his wife, Martha.

I also commend to your keeping the soul of Rome Clay...

...late brigadier general, Confederate States Army.

IKnown to his comrades here, sir...

...as Trooper John Smith, United States Cavalry.

A gallant soldier and a Christian gentleman.

Ready. Aim. Fire!

Aim! Fire!

Aim! Fire! Order! Time.

With your permission, sir? Granted.

Bugler. Thank you, sir.

We thank you, sir!


I wouldn't go any further if I were you.

You're almost across the footlights now.

Probably a hundred hostiles out there. Watching every move you're making.

Think that's a whippoorwill? Come on, Olivia, let's go back.

I can walk back alone, thank you.

Olivia.

The old man says, "Don't ever apologize. It's a sign of weakness."

But I'm sorry for everything I've said and done.

Honey, I love you... Flint, let's get it over with!

Are you crazy?

You've been jealous since she wore the yellow ribbon.

Button up that shirt!

Sneer all you want, but keep your paws off my girl.

All right, I'll accommodate you.

Ross, don't. This isn't... I quite agree!

Button your shirt, Mr. Pennell! I thought better of you.

Four years out here and still acting like a wet-eared cadet on the Hudson.

What is this all about, Mr. Cohill? I decline to answer. Respectfully.

Mr. Cohill, it is a bitter thing indeed...

...to learn an officer who's had nine years' experience...

...the officer to whom I'm yielding command of the troop in two days...

...should have so little grasp of leadership...

...as to allow himself to be chivvied into a go at fisticuffs...

...while taps still sounds over a brave man's grave.

God help this troop when I'm gone. Sir, it...

You're at attention, Mr. Pennell! You get back to the troop area.

Mr. Cohill, have the men build their squad fires higher.

Make the fullest show of bedding down for the night.

Then we're sneaking out. Heading for the river, going back.

Sorry, Ross. I'm sorry, Flint.

I saw our friend, Mr. Rynders. Right smart trading going on.

Mr. Rynders? All right.

Pass the word to Mr. Pennell forward. Follow me.


Mr. Rynders, Indian agent!

He said $50 is too much. Too much?

Tell him I know he's got the money in the paymaster's box.

I know he killed Major Cheadle. Tell him it's $50 or no rifle!


Sergeant. It's cocked, sir.

No, your knife.


Join me in a chaw of tobacco?

No, sir. I don't chaw and I don't play cards.

Chawing tobacco is a nasty habit.

It's been known to turn a man's stomach.

I'll take a chaw if you please, sir.

Thank you, sir.

Let's go.

Still figuring on resigning, mister? No, sir.


Pass the word. Officers and sergeants forward.

Officers and sergeants forward!

Sergeant Tyree? Find me a trail to the river.

Right, sir!

We'll leave a guard under an officer. It's a privilege...

Mr. Pennell, your offer to volunteer will go on your record.

If you still wish to make a record.

Mr. Cohill, you're in command. Take two squads, cover our crossing.

Deny the hostiles use of this ford.

First squad! Second squad! Second has too many old married men.

First squad! Fifth squad! Wheel out and form on the right!

Can you swim, Dickey, me boy? No.

Well, I'm the best swimmer in the world.

Once I swam the English Channel with an anvil on me chest.

You know, I've got two jars of jams and plums...

...on my pantry shelf.

They're waiting to be eaten by a girl like you.

Tell her about the boats.

Request permission to stay behind with the guard.

Refused. Mr. Cohill, start the troop across. I'll pick defense positions.

One pack animal to the rear! Get back in that wagon, Quayne.


Bugler, sound officer's call for Captain Brittles!

I'll be back, men. I'll be back, I promise you. Good luck!

Adjust your saddles and equipment! Adjust your saddles and equipment!

Pass that on, will you?

It's time for me to take me medicine.

It tastes horrible!

Three parties of them, Mr. Cohill.

But this is the only crossing in 20 miles.

You gotta buy me some time. You gotta buy me a long day.

Then we'll do it, sir. And I know you will, Flint.

Flint? It took you nine years to call me that. It was worth waiting for.

We'll get you out of here, son.

We'll get you out of this pocket by noon tomorrow. Prepare to mount!

Move!

Flint, wait.

Haul off and kiss her back, blast you! We haven't got all day!

All right, Miss Dandridge, if you please.

Get mounted!

I guess that's how it is, Ross. I understand.

Forward! Forward! Yo-ho!


It's my duty to report, mission failure.

It was our fault! You did everything...

I've never worn a coat of whitewash yet, Abby. I won't start now.

Failed at Sudro's. Failed to keep Rynder's rifles from the tribes.

Failed at everything. I leave the Army a failure.

You're running yourself... Hasn't she told you?

I left Cohill with two squads in the Paradise.

A sound military move.

I'd like to rest the troop for three hours and start back.

I'll have Cohill out of that pocket by tomorrow.

No, Nathan, troop can't leave till dawn.

Dawn? Troop ought to pull out of here before midnight!

I agree, Nathan, if you were leading it. But Pennell will need daylight.

Pennell? That babe in the wood?

Fording a river against a swarm of hostiles with Winchesters?

Aren't you forgetting that you retire tomorrow?

Tomorrow's all I need, Mac. Look, 40 years a good soldier.

I can't leave Cohill facing those devils.

It's no one-day mission. They'll be out all winter.

Then I'll volunteer as a civilian scout, an interpreter. Anything.

I thought you were fond of Cohill. Fond of him?

Every time he gave an order, men would look at you.

They'd wonder if he were doing the right thing. You wanna ruin the boy?

I know, Mac, but...

Pennell's got to learn to cross a river under fire. So did we.

Cohill's got to run his chances. We ran them, Nathan.

That's what we get paid for.

Yeah, I guess you're right, Mac.

I guess you're right.

With your permission, I'll quit the post tomorrow.

Permission granted, captain. Where will you go, Nathan?

Oh, West, I guess, Abby.

California, new settlements.

Old soldiers, Miss Dandridge.

Someday, you'll learn how they hate to give up.

Captain of a troop one day, every man's face turned towards you.

Lieutenants jump when I growl.

Now, tomorrow I'll be glad...

...if the blacksmith asks me to shoe a horse.

Blast you if you start sniffling! As for you, young lady...

I'm not crying.

I'd like to stand up and cheer.

Time, sir. And it's a black day for the army.

Did you sleep well, sir?

No.

I didn't sleep at all.

Clean up the quarters after I'm gone.

Sell all this stuff and put the money in the troop fund.

Give Mrs. Allshard my extra saddle.

It'll be easier on her disposition.

And the oil, sir?

Oil? Oh, yes.

The water bottle.

How did it ever get there, sir?

Now, how do you suppose? How long have you known?

Since the second battle of Bull Run, thickhead.

And you've been deceiving me all these years.

Well, there's that!

I'd say my retirement was an occasion for a drink. Help yourself.

No, I'd take no pleasure in it.

But if it's an order, here's to your health.

Fourteen days left for me and I'll be wearing one of them too.

It's the only one I ever owned.

I was in jeans and barefoot...

...when I left my daddy's farm to join the Army.

Well, sergeant...

I haven't had a drink since that day, but I'll have one to your retirement.

No, sir, I'll do the honors for you. Thank you.

Half a minute, till I get your blouse.

What?

The men will like it, sir. Oh, yeah. Last time.

I'll review the troops alone this morning.

Break in that suit of store clothes for me, will you?

The suit? Yeah, try it on!

See how it looks.


C Troop present and accounted for. Thank you, sir.

Men...

...I won't be going out with you.

I won't be here when you return.

Wish I could.

But I know your performance...

...under your new commander...

...will make me proud of you...

...as I've always been proud of you.

One moment, please, captain. Corporal IKrumrein, front and center!

Sir, a small token from the troop.

They all put in the hat for it, sir. Even Sergeant Hochbauer.

It's solid sliver, brought on from IKansas City.

There is a sentiment on the back of it.

"To Captain Brittles.

From C Troop...

...lest we forget."

Thank you, corporal. Thank you.

Thank all of you.

Take your troop, Mr. Pennell. Proceed on your mission.

Good luck, C Troop!


Give me a side view.

It's perfect!

It's made for you, Quincannon.

Go down to the settlers and order a duplicate.

So that when you retire you... Here.

Have a couple of drinks while you're waiting.


You're out of uniform, Quincannon.

Oh, I am, am I? You are.

Well, I'm in the proper uniform.

The uniform of a retired gentleman.

Hochbauer! Hochbauer! Yes, sir.

Sergeant Quincannon is improperly dressed.

And he's under the influence. Throw him in the guardhouse.

Alone, sir?

Afraid of him? We'll get you some help.

Wagner! Give Hochbauer a hand.

Come, Fritz.

It'll be a little drop of whiskey, Irish, and I'll pour it meself.

When I've drank that up, just throw me out.

I want you to help me arrest Quincannon.

I'd love to throw that big mick in the cooler.

You're under arrest. By whose orders?

By order of Captain Brittles. Are you coming peaceably?

Laddie, I've never gone anyplace peaceably in me life.

You're just in time for a drink, Wagner.

Connolly, the old days have gone forever.

Look out!

You hear about the buffalo coming back?

Buffalo? Herds of them.

Men! Now, we want no unpleasantness.

A toast first and the guardhouse after, if you're able.

And it's all on me. I'm paying.

To Captain Nathan Brittles...

...on his retirement.

To Captain Nathan Brittles!

I thank you, comrades.

This has been a very pleasant moment.

Goodbye, Mr. Connolly. Goodbye, Mr. Quincannon.

Are you hurt, Hanz? He's all right, sarge.


Come and have a little sup before you go.

Wagner, come and join us!

Service!

Waiter!

What's all this? Are you all right?

I got a cold, doctor. I had a nip.

To the guardhouse, Quincannon! Quick step! March!

Watch the steps, ma'am.

Aren't you ashamed? Eight of you picking on one man?

Only seven, ma'am. Forward, yo!

All right, I get it. Ten days in the guardhouse and no charges.

Can't you make it two weeks? Till he retires?

A man with a thirst like that...

...couldn't get by on less than a sergeant's pension.

I'll give you my word, he'll retire as top soldier.

Thanks, Mac.

Well, on my way. Goodbye, Mac.

Say goodbye to Abby!

He'll do no such thing.

"Goodbye" is a word we don't use in the cavalry. Till our next post, dear.

Could I haul off and kiss you too, captain?

Goodbye, doc. Goodbye, Nathan.

And may the road be kind to you.

Signal smokes. War drums. Feathered bonnets against the Western sky. New Messiahs. Young leaders are ready to hurl the fiinest light cavalry...

... against Fort Starke.

In the Kiowa village, the drumbeat echoes in the pulse of young braves. Under a common banner, old quarrels forgotten...

... Comanche rides with Arapaho, Apache with Cheyenne. All chant of war. War to drive the white man forever...

... from the red man's hunting ground.

Only the old men stand silent. Even Pony That Walks has been howled down at the council fiires. Captain Brittles! Captain Brittles!

Captain Brittles, sir.

Captain Brittles, glad to see you. And I you. Report, Mr. Pennell.

We effected the relief as ordered. No casualties.

My compliments. Thank you, sir.

Report, Mr. Cohill.

We've trailed them all day. It's a big concentration.

Arapahos, IKiowas, Comanches and Cheyenne Dog Soldiers.

About 900 of them, and they're ready to strike.

We gotta strike first. I'm glad the major sent you...

He didn't send me. I'm not on duty.

Then the orders haven't been changed? Orders are orders, sir.

For the next four hours...

...according to my brand-new sliver watch and chain...

...l'm an officer in the United States Cavalry.

If I gave you a written order, Flint, would you obey it?

I don't need them from you. But you'll get them.

Might come in handy at our court-martial. Sergeant Tyree?

I'm ordering you to volunteer again. Fetch a guidon.

Yes, sir. Guidon!

Stay here. Do nothing until I return. If I don't, those are your orders.

Don't lose them.


Locate the pony herd.

Were you ever scared, Captain Tyree?

Yes, sir. Up to and including now.


Nathan, Nathan! I am a Christian.

Hallelujah.

Old friend, me. Long time. Long time.

I come in peace, Pony That Walks.

Take salt, Nathan. Take salt.

Smoke pipe. Good, good.

Pony That Walks, my heart is sad at what I see.

Your young men painted for war. Their scalp knives red.

The medicine drums talking. It is a bad thing.

A bad thing, Nathan. Many will die.

My young men. Your young men. No good. No good.

We must stop this war. Too late, Nathan.

Young men do not listen to me.

They listen to big medicine. Yellow hair. Custer dead.

Buffalo come back, great sign. Too late, Nathan.

You will come with me. Hunt buffalo together.

Smoke many pipes.

We are too old for war.

Yes, we are too old for war...

...but old men should stop wars.

Too late, too late. Many squaws will sing the death songs.

Many lodges will be empty. You come with me.

We hunt buffalo, get drunk together.

Hallelujah, hallelujah!

No, old friend, I must go. I go far away.

Then, Nathan, my brother...

...go in peace.


Easy, puppy, easy.

Pass the word. Mount. Pass the word. Mount.

Pass the word. Mount. Pass the word. Mount.

Bugler, do you want to get busted back to horseshoeing? Quiet that horse.

Tyree. Sorry, sir.

Mr. Cohill...

...can you read the time by my brand-new silver watch?

Yes, sir. It's 1 2 minutes to midnight.

Yeah.

Gentlemen.

Bugler, sound the charge.


Sound recall.

Any wounded? No casualties, sir.

No casualties, no Indian war, no court-martial.

Have your soldiers follow the hostiles back to the reservation.

Follow a mile behind them. Walking hurts their pride.

Your watching will hurt it worse.

Can you read what time it is by my brand-new silver watch?

It's two minutes past midnight, sir.

Been a civilian for two minutes.

It's your army, Mr. Cohill. Good luck.

So Nathan Brittles, ez-captain of the Cavalry, U.S. A...

... started westward for the new settlements in California. Westward toward the setting sun, the end of the trail for all old men.

But the Army hadn't fiinished with Brittles. And it sent a galloper after him. That was Sergeant Tyree's department.

Yo-ho, Captain Brittles!

Captain, sir. For you, from the Yankee War Department.

I knew it. Dad blast it, I knew it.

Every time you... What?

Sergeant, it's my appointment!

Chief of scouts, with a rank of lieutenant colonel.

And will you look at those endorsements!

Phil Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman...

...and Ulysses Simpson Grant, President of the United States of America.

There's three aces for you!

I kind of wish you had a full hand. Full hand? What do you mean?

Robert E. Lee, sir.

Wouldn't have been bad. Let's go.


Welcome home, colonel darlin'.

Your arm, Colonel Brittles.

You'll be surprised to know that she and l...

Son, I knew it all the time.

Everybody on the post knew it, above the rank of second lieutenant.

Right, Mr. Pennell? One day I'll be first lieutenant.

Yeah, in 10 or 1 2 years.

Will you stay for the dance, colonel?

You'll excuse me, Miss Dandridge, I gotta make my report first.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

Thank you.


Here they are, the dogfaced soldiers, the regulars...

... the 50-cents-a-day professionals, riding the outposts of a nation. From Ft. Reno to Ft. Apache, Sheridan to Stock, they were all the same. Men in dirty-shirt blue, only a page in history books to mark their lives. But wherever they rode, whatever they fought for...

... that place became the United States.