Pony Soldier

On the Set (l to r):Robert Horton, Tyrone Power, Penny Edwards, Cameron Mitchell, & Thomas Gomez
"Pony Soldier" (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952) Credits: Tyrone Power, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Horton, Thomas Gomez and Penny Edwards. 

Directed by Joseph M. Newman; Produced by Samuel G. Engel; Screenplay by John C. Higgins from a Saturday Evening Post story by Garnet Weston (based on a true story)

Location: Northwest United States and the Northwest Territory, Canada, 1876

A tribe of Cree Indians illegally crosses the border into the United States to hunt buffalo. Some members of the tribe are shot by American soldiers looking for Sioux. The Cree decide to go back across the border, only this time to kill American soldiers, which they do. To help ensure their safe passage back to Canada, a raiding party decides to take some captives. They come upon a wagon traveling alone. The father and son are killed, while the daughter, Emerald (Penny Edwards), and hired hand, Jess Calhoun (Robert Horton) are taken captive. This is all seen by a former army scout, a Blackfoot named Natayo (Thomas Gomez). Natayo rides to the Royal Mounted Police headquarters, where Constable Duncan MacDonald (Tyrone Power) is reporting his failure to catch a horse thief. Upon hearing Natayo's story, the captain orders MacDonald to negotiate the release of the captives and get the Cree back across the border onto their reservation. After some haggling, Natayo agrees to accompany Duncan.

Duncan and Natayo come upon the raiding party, led by Konah (Cameron Mitchell), and ask to speak to the chief. Instead they are taken to the main camp of several thousand Cree. Duncan asks Chief Standing Bear (Stuart Randall) for a parlay, but is refused until he walks directly to the tent where the captives are being held, proving he had strong medicine. He talks to the captives and finds that Jess is a bigoted Indian hater, who would like to kill all Indians and he swears he'll escape. Konah decides his brother will marry Emerald. Duncan gets his parlay and convinces the council to free the prisoners and return to their reservation. Konah swears he will not obey. Duncan sends Natayo back to the RMP post to start the promised supply wagons south, while the tribe heads north, so they will meet halfway and know he has told the truth.
Before he leaves, Natayo confesses to Duncan that recognizes Jess, who is really an escaped convict from Winnipeg named Johnny Pierce, and he's a bank robber. Duncan puts "Jess" on warning not to make any wrong moves; however early the next morning as Jess attempts to escape, he kills Konah's brother. Jess is captured and about to be drawn and quartered, when Duncan appeals to Standing Bear to let the Queen's government deal with him. Standing Bear agrees and claims  it will be a test of the white man's law. Duncan tells Jess he knows who he is and he would have let the Cree kill him, but he wants the pleasure of seeing him hang. Jess knocks Duncan down, grabs his rifle, and jumps on a horse. Before he can get away Duncan shoots him with his pistol. While Duncan and Standing Bear go for a ride to cement their friendship, Konah and some of his followers kidnap Emerald. But Comes Running (Anthony Numkena), a young Cree boy adopted by Duncan, sees it and goes after Duncan and the chief. They go after the renegades and in a fight Konah falls from a cliff. Duncan frees Emerald. An inured Konah attempts to shoot him, but instead is shot by Comes Running.

The Cree return peacefully to their reservation, and Duncan MacDonald is credited with single handedly averting a war.

SOME FOOTNOTES: Though the beautiful scenery is reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies, the movie was actually filmed around Sedona, Arizona!

But maybe most interesting to Robert Horton fans is the fact that this was the ONE and ONLY time in his entire career that Robert ever played the 'heavy!' 

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