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"Best Film of John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy?" Topic

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Action Log

11 Dec 2018 5:30 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

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19th Century

1,053 hits since 16 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian17 May 2018 4:52 p.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Fort Apache
Rio Grande

Personal logo Dances with Clydesdales Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:02 p.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:10 p.m. PST

Well, they're all great.
But I'll go with She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, if only for the song.

abelp0117 May 2018 5:11 p.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:12 p.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and then Fort Apache.

cavcrazy17 May 2018 5:13 p.m. PST

Love them all, but it has to be She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

jdginaz17 May 2018 5:13 p.m. PST

I years ago I would have said Yellow Ribbon but lately I prefer Rio Grande


vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:14 p.m. PST

Rio Grande with Maureen O'Hara! Doesn't get any better then that!!

WarWizard17 May 2018 5:16 p.m. PST

Fort Apache

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:20 p.m. PST

Me for Rio Grande, but Parzival is right.

How do we get James Warner Bellah back in print? No, that's not wandering from the subject. He gets story credit for all three of those--
"The Big Hunt" and "War Party" for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
"Massacre" for Fort Apache
"Rio Grande" for--oh, you guessed? Pennell, Tyree and others were regular characters of his appearing in multiple short stories.

Others, too. Sergeant Rutledge and The Man who Shot Liberty Valence.

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 5:59 p.m. PST

I go for Rio Grande.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP17 May 2018 6:00 p.m. PST

I thought that Fort Apache was probably the best of them all, but Rio Grande is my favorite. Yellow Ribbon is a step down from the other two films.

The cast, acting performances, the script and the cinematography of Dort Apache were really good but it was kind of a dark movie.

Rio Grande entertained me more and it had more memorable characters

princeman17 May 2018 6:01 p.m. PST

Rio Grande

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 6:50 p.m. PST

unfair to choose… but …Rio Grande..then Yellow Ribbon..then Fort Apache….

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

The Searchers

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 7:03 p.m. PST

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.


Captain Avatar17 May 2018 7:35 p.m. PST

Fort Apache

Stephen Miller17 May 2018 9:07 p.m. PST

She wore a Yellow Ribbon, then Ft. Apache, and last (but really not least) Rio Grande. And Rio Grande was based on
James Warner Bellah's "Mission with no Name". All 3 in my "Top Ten Cavalry Movies" List.

attilathepun47 Inactive Member17 May 2018 9:37 p.m. PST

They all have their good points, but for me "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" was by far the best.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 2:00 a.m. PST

She wore a yellow ribbon gets my vote, although it was a close vote with the other two.

KSmyth18 May 2018 2:01 a.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. I love The John Wayne character. He just seems a little more human. All the movies are great.

Ferd4523118 May 2018 4:18 a.m. PST

She wore for a lot of reasons. Especially fond of the storm/lightening sequence which Ford insisted on filming when everyone else thought it a bad idea. Won the photographer an academy award I think. Best over all Western – The Searchers. H

DrSkull18 May 2018 4:24 a.m. PST

I'll add She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as well.

(I like Rio Bravo better than the Searchers, however)

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Simcoe 200018 May 2018 5:27 a.m. PST

Rio Grande for me , it was the first one that I viewed. And Leo J. Carroll as PHil Sheridan. "I wonder what history will say about Shennandoah…?"

genew4918 May 2018 5:47 a.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon followed by Rio Grande and Fort Apache.
As for Maureen O'Hara:
YouTube link

Personal logo jrbatso Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 6:05 a.m. PST

All good My rankings
1 Rio Grande
2 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
3 Fort Apache

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 7:37 a.m. PST

"She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" if only for the theme song. When I was in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, TX, that was one of the songs the division band played at unit changes of command and reviews.


axabrax18 May 2018 8:43 a.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was gorgeous but I actually enjoyed the story more in Fort Apache. Too much musical in Rio Grande and too 1950s feeling. I pretend it doesn't exist.

Hlaven18 May 2018 8:50 a.m. PST

Rio Grande
Fort Apache
Yellow Ribbon

I wish Rio Grande and Fort Apache were in color.

I will never miss watching any of them when they are on. And I have been watching them since I was a kid. I am 68 now.

The Searchers I consider one of the best westerns ever made.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 9:01 a.m. PST

Rio Grande if some dacoit had a gun to my head but I think they are all equally great.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

Love those films. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is my favorite.

mghFond18 May 2018 10:06 a.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, yes, but like all three.

John Leahy18 May 2018 10:36 a.m. PST

I like em all! I could lose the music in Rio Grande too. I Yellow Ribbon I like a lot. Fonda didn't work for me in his role in Fort Apache. Great cast of characters in all of them!

Huscarle18 May 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

Fort Apache for me.
The Searchers is probably my favourite film of all genres.

jdginaz18 May 2018 11:02 a.m. PST

I love the music I Rio Grande and it is very realistic for the period. Musical entertainment was very important on those lonely posts.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP18 May 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

Can't really choose a favorite--each has qualities that make it distinct, and none are weak or false in any way.

Simcoe 2000! I also liked the portrayal of Sheridan in "Rio Grande," but it was J. Carroll Naish who played him--possibly the best character actor in the business who played every ethnic type save his own--Irish!

Oh, if any of the three has an edge, the presence of Maureen O'Hara alone could take "Rio Grande" across the finish line by a nose.


SeattleGamer Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 1:01 p.m. PST

All three were great for their own reasons. But as Mr Virtual stated, the presence of Maureen would be the tie breaker for me.

Any time those two teamed up it was magical.

tigrifsgt18 May 2018 1:04 p.m. PST

Rio Grande for me. I just watched it a couple of days ago.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 1:05 p.m. PST

Of the trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. The highlights included the superb horsemanship of Ben Johnson.

But I am in favor of expanding the canon to include The Horse Soldiers as my favorite.


dragon618 May 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

Maureen O'Hara alone could take "Rio Grande" across the finish line by a nose.
A nose…

jdginaz18 May 2018 6:23 p.m. PST

"The highlights included the superb horsemanship of Ben Johnson."

You want superb horsemanship none better than Ben & Harry Carrie jr. riding "Roman Style" and jumping 4' gate. And yes it is Ben and Harry doing themselves, with Claude Jarman Jr. also doing the stunt himself.

Lee49418 May 2018 10:39 p.m. PST

Of the choices Yellow Ribbon. Love the Dukes character. Should have won an Oscar. Favorite John Wayne western is Rio Bravo close second The Shootist. Favorite cavalry movie Horse Soldiers. Favorite John Wayne movie ever Flying Leathernecks I'm a sucker for air war movies. Cheers!

mildbill19 May 2018 3:13 a.m. PST

Ben Johnson is the only person to win an academy award and the top rodeo award. I forget what the rodeo award is called but he was the top rodeo cowboy in the US one year prior to his acting.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2018 7:29 a.m. PST

Yellow Ribbon for me.

As far as Bellah goes, one of his best stories was never
a part of any film – 'Spanish Man's Grave'

And Lt. Ross Pennell and Sgt. Tyree figure prominently
in the short story.

arthur181519 May 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

It has to be Yellow Ribbon because Ford got Wayne to act outside his usual persona with a subtlety he didn't often achieve.
Then Fort Apache, and lastly Rio Grande.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

The latest version I have restored the original screen ratio. The photography was like a series of magnificent western paintings.


Stephen Miller19 May 2018 7:54 p.m. PST

On a sad note, I discovered last week that both John Agar (Lt Cohill) and Harry Carey, Jr (Lt Pennell) who I had thought were the last surviving members of the John Ford Stock Company had both actually past (Agar in 2002) and Carey in 2014, I believe.) I somehow had missed that they had died. Duke's son Pat Wayne is now considered the last of the JF Stock Company having been in Rio Grande (uncredited, as on of the fort's children), the Searchers and Cheyenne Autumn.

Comicbook Hero20 May 2018 7:48 a.m. PST

My prized possession, picked up a couple of years ago for Peanuts.

James Warner Bellah. Reveille. All the short stories together.

Yellow Ribbon for me. I blame it on Quincannon.

Stephen Miller21 May 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

Comicbook Hero,
I still have the copy of Reveille that my parents bought for me in 1962 when I was in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy surgery. I pretty worn and I checked on both ebay and Amazon to see about replacing it with one in much better condition, but the prices I saw ($45-60 IIRC) made it easy for me to decide to keep my old copy.

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