- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 51 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: May 18, 1960
- Originally Released: 1960
- Label: Warner Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Theatrical trailer
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- English, French
- Subtitles - English, Spanish
Performers, Cast and Crew:
USA Today - 06/11/1993
"...The film is handsomely shot and compelling..."
John Ford's courtroom drama, his only film featuring a black person in a central role, stars Woody Strode as Sgt. Braxton Rutledge, a buffalo soldier accused of murder on an Arizona cavalry post in the 1880s. In an atmosphere charged with racism, Lt. Tom Cantrell (Jeffrey Hunter) is to defend Rutledge against the accusation that he raped a young woman and murdered her and her father, an officer. Under the questioning of prosecutor Captain Shattuck (Carleton Young), Mary Beecher (Constance Towers) reveals that on the day of the murders Rutledge had earlier saved her life when she was attacked by Mescalero Indians. But Cordelia Fosgate (Billie Burke), the judge's dithering wife, claims to have seen Rutledge emerge from the victims' quarters after hearing gunfire. For Strode, a member of Ford's stock company, this was his first leading role and perhaps the best of his career. A gifted athlete, he was one of the first two African American players to break into the NFL in 1946. Of this film, he has said, ''I've never gotten over SERGEANT RUTLEDGE. It had dignity. John Ford put classic words in my mouth . . . You never seen a Negro come off a mountain like John Wayne before. I had the greatest Glory Hallelujah ride across the Pecos River that any black man ever had on the screen. And I did it myself. I carried the whole black race across the river."
Sergeant Rutledge, a black cavalry officer, finds himself falsely accused of the rape and murder of a white woman.