The Last Wagon


Action / Adventure / Drama / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 69%
IMDb Rating 7 10 2164


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March 06, 2016 at 04:46 AM



Richard Widmark as Comanche Todd
Felicia Farr as Jenny
James Drury as Lt. Kelly
Nick Adams as Ridge
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
754.24 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 0 / 4
1.53 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 2 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 7 / 10

Delmer Daves rides again!

Copyright 1956 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Globe: 21 September 1956. U.S. release: September 1956. U.K. release: November 1956. Australian release: 15 November 1956. Sydney opening at the Plaza. 99 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Set in the Arizona territory in 1875, the story tells what happens to a small group of people, mostly teenagers, who, quite by accident, survive an Apache attack on their wagon train and endure terrible hardships in the long trek to safety.

NOTES: Fox's 62nd CinemaScope feature. Locations in Sedona, Arizona.

COMMENT: This rugged western, filmed against picturesque backdrops in Northern Arizona, was not highly regarded in its day due to its somewhat protracted and overlong story-line, as well as its too verbose and even pretentious moralizing. Widmark's over-intense acting did not help either. I'm sure the movie would go over much better with a modern audience who will tolerate any amount of pretension, garrulousness and thespic hamminess, so long as these stretches of tedium are occasionally enlivened by bouts of blazing action.

I'm amazed that Fox have not theatrically re-issued "The Last Wagon". I'm sure that admirers of director Delmer Daves ("Broken Arrow", "Jubal", "3:10 to Yuma", "Cowboy") would welcome the opportunity to re-assess this one.

Reviewed by Fogbraider 9 / 10

Family-friendly western romance and adventure

This is a terrific women's film. Richard Widmark's character, Comanche Todd, is everything a man should be in the Wild West – brave, resourceful, resilient, stoical, astute, firm but fair with children, tender with women, able to lead and command, not violent by nature but able and willing to use violence to protect or avenge. Moreover, he is devastatingly handsome, with his golden tan, physical agility and unsophisticated eloquence. And this is combined with an extremely literal vulnerability: in the first scene he is captured by his brutal enemy and is dragged behind a horse, starved, parched, manacled and lashed to a wagon wheel. As the story progresses and he has to save the young people who survive the massacre of a wagon train, he is freed by gradual stages, as they come to trust him.

Some commenters have complained that the action is too tame, and the threat from the Indians is not made real. Indeed, the film is family friendly, and there is no gore on screen. But we are continually reminded that Todd's every action is under the shadow of the gallows, we see and hear the Indians massed for attack, we share the tension of what might be the party's final night, and the adult viewer will be aware of what children will miss – Todd twice makes sure that their remaining three bullets are kept for the girls, to spare them the fate that befell the females of the wagon train. He fights two Indians barehanded rather than use the gun. Stoicism is a quality that is at a premium in this setting, and the member of the party who doesn't have it, the younger of two sisters, has to develop it.

This is a different world from our modern one. The same man can be a hero to the young boy, Billy (Tommy Rettig), and a romantic figure to his older sister, Jenny (Felicia Farr). For most of the film, the boy is ahead of his sister in his admiration and growing affection, and gives it frank expression for both of them. The love scenes between Jenny and Todd are very well written and played. The characters are clumsy and unsubtle as they signal their interest in each other, but their sincerity saves them from awkwardness.

The final courtroom scene does clunk a bit, as various members of the party give their testimony in support of Todd, apparently unasked, or in response to an unspoken, off camera gesture from the judge. But it is satisfying, nevertheless, as it ties up the character arc of each of the young people, their growth measured by their relationship with Todd, who embodies the best qualities of both the Indians and the settlers.

Reviewed by Neil Welch 7 / 10

Good western

Arrested for killing the men who murdered his wife and sons, "Comanche" Todd survives being chained to a wagon wheel when Apache ambush the wagon train leaving only 6 young people as well as Todd: it falls to him to lead them to safety through hostile territory.

Richard Widmark has a meaty action hero leading role as Todd in this 1956 western. The other characters are an interesting bunch, with Nick Adams in the thankless role of aggressive ass, Tommy Rettig as substitute son, and Felicia Farr as tasty young thing who could easily adapt to frontier wife.

The action is good, the music is typical western fare, and the scenery is wonderful. This is a very traditional western, but a good one.

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