At the West Point Academy in 1854, cadet Carl Rader, a disciple of the fanatic John Brown, is dishonorably discharged for conspiracy. His classmates, Jeb Stuart and George Custer, graduate and are assigned to duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the most dangerous post in the army. On the way to Kansas, Custer and Stuart meet Cyrus Halliday, the man in charge of building the railroad to Santa Fe, and his daughter Kit Carson, with whom both soldiers fall in love. Arriving at the fort, they find the state bloodstained and war-torn, a victim of John Brown’s relentless crusade against slavery. Meanwhile, Rader has enlisted as a mercenary in Brown’s army, which has been terrorizing the countryside with their bloody raids. During Brown’s raid on a freight wagon under the protection of the U.S. Army, Stuart and Custer capture Brown’s injured son Jason, and before dying, the troubled boy informs them about his father’s hideout at Shubel Morgan’s ranch in Palmyra. In disguise, Stuart rides into Palmyra, the center of the underground slave railroad, but is recognized by Rader, who takes him at gunpoint to Brown. While trying to escape, Stuart is trapped in a burning barn but is saved as Custer leads the troops to the rescue and drives Brown into seclusion. Believing that Brown’s force has been broken, Stuart and Custer are sent back to Washington, where Stuart proposes to Kit. However, far from being a broken man, Brown is planning to ignite war by raiding the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. When Brown refuses to pay Rader for his services, Rader rides to Washington to inform Stuart of Brown’s plans, and the troops arrive just in time to crush the rebellion and hang Brown.
Although the youth, William Bonney, an infamous gunslinger known as Billy the Kid, maintains that he bought Red from a stranger, Doc insists that he stole him.
Shortly after he disembarks at the Lincoln, New Mexico train depot, gun-slinging gambler Doc Holliday reunites with his old friend and former partner-in-crime, Pat Garrett. When Pat, who is now the town’s sheriff, hears that the penniless Doc is searching for his horse Red, who has been stolen, he directs his friend to the local dentist’s office. There Doc finds Red tied up outside and confronts the young man who comes to claim the horse. Although the youth, William Bonney, an infamous gunslinger known as Billy the Kid, maintains that he bought Red from a stranger, Doc insists that he stole him. Despite their disagreement, Doc takes Billy’s side when Pat tries to arrest him for theft. Annoyed, Pat orders Doc and the smooth-talking, quick-fisted Billy to leave town by sundown. Doc and Billy, however, ignore Pat’s command and play cards together in the cantina. Doc wins hand after hand from Billy and is unruffled when his rival accuses him of cheating. After Doc announces he is giving Red to Billy as a gift, however, he tries to sneak the horse out of the barn, but is caught in the act by a watchful Billy. Moments later, as Billy is about to settle down next to Red, he is shot at by an unseen assailant. In the darkness of the barn, Billy overpowers his attacker, who turns out to be a beautiful woman named Rio McDonald. While struggling to free herself, Rio condemns Billy for murdering her brother and vows to kill him. Billy admits to shooting Rio’s brother in a fight over a woman, but insists that the match was fair and gives Rio a passionate kiss. The next morning, in the cantina, Billy is approached by a stranger who identifies himself only as an enemy of Pat. The stranger enlists Billy’s help in confronting Pat and suggests they stage a mock fight as practice. Suddenly sensing a set-up, Billy draws his guns one second before the stranger does and kills him. After they learn that the stranger was actually a friend of Pat, Doc advises Billy to flee, but Billy insists on facing the sheriff.
Maintaining that he was pushed into the gunfight, Billy refuses to give himself up to Pat and his deputies, and is shot by Pat. Before Pat can fire his rifle again, Doc shoots the gun out of his hand and downs two of his deputies. As Doc and a wounded Billy are about to leave the cantina, Pat angrily declares his friendship with Doc “finished.” Doc takes Billy to recuperate at Rio’s house, unaware that Rio, his girl friend, had previously tried to kill Billy. After Doc leaves, Rio contemplates stabbing the unconscious Billy, but is unable to do the deed. Instead, Rio and her aunt Guadalupe nurse Billy through fever and chills until, one month later, he is recovered. Rio admits to Billy that she is Doc’s “girl,” but gives in to his seductive charm and kisses him. Soon after, Doc returns and learns that Rio married Billy during one of his delirious periods but has not told him about their new relationship. Although Doc is angered by Rio’s change of heart, he is more infuriated by Billy’s continued insistence that Red is his horse. To resolve the matter, Billy offers Doc a choice between Red and Rio. Doc quickly picks Red over Rio, and the two men ride off toward the desert together. When they see Pat approaching in the distance, they deduce that Rio revealed their route and then discover that she filled their canteens with sand. After a thirsty night, Doc wakes to find Billy gone and Pat at his side. Pat arrests Doc, while Billy sneaks into Rio’s house and takes her by surprise. Later, on the trail, Doc and Pat find Rio tied between two rocks, abandoned with no water. Confident that Billy will return to free Rio, Doc and Pat lie in wait for him. As predicted, Billy shows up the next morning and is apprehended. While Doc and Billy argue about whether Billy is in love with Rio, a hostile Indian group sends smoke signals announcing the white men’s presence. Pat, Billy and Doc jump on their horses and head for nearby Fort Sumner, but are soon overtaken by the Indians. Reluctantly, Pat gives Billy and Doc guns, and the three men charge madly for the fort, chased closely by the Indians. By dragging cacti behind them, the men create a moving dust storm, which causes the Indians to give up their pursuit. While the men stop at a house to rest, Pat gives owner Pablo a note to deliver to the Fort Sumner marshal. Overhearing Pat and Pablo’s conversation, Doc is about to flee on Red when he is stopped by Billy, who insists once more that the horse belongs to him. Billy challenges Doc to a duel over Red, and although Billy outdraws Doc, he is unable to shoot him. Annoyed by Billy’s sudden passivity, Doc shoots the youth’s hand and then his earlobes. Stating that Doc is the only partner he has ever had, Billy refuses to fight back, however, and the two men finally reconcile. Humiliated by Doc’s obvious preference for Billy, Pat explodes with anger and shoots Doc. The next morning, after a remorseful Pat and Billy bury their friend, Pat allows Billy to leave. As he is about to ride off, Billy invites Rio to join him, and Rio happily accepts.
After two Oregon newlyweds are robbed and murdered in their car by a hitchhiker, police release a photograph of their prime suspect, ex-convict Emmett Myers. The hitchhiker then kills and robs a salesman in central California. Soon after, two Arizona men, draughtsman Gilbert Bowen and garage owner Roy Collins, drive across the California-Mexico border on their way to a fishing vacation in Baja. Once past Mexicali, Roy and Gil offer a lift to a stranded stranger. Almost immediately, the man, Myers, pulls out a gun and forces them to stop on a side road. Myers, who freely admits his identity, confiscates Gil’s rifle and ammunition, then orders them back on the highway. After warning Roy and Gil not to “get smart” like his previous victims, the excitable Myers demands to know when their wives expect them home. To keep Myers calm, Roy responds that they are not due back anytime soon. Later, while stopped for gas, Gil starts conversing in Spanish with the non-English speaking attendant, and Myers, who does not understand Spanish, flashes his gun at Gil to keep him quiet. At the next deserted side road, Myers studies a map and decides he is going to catch a ferry in Santa Rosalia, 500 miles away. Myers then shows off his shooting skills and forces Gil to fire his rifle at a tin can that Roy is holding hundreds of feet away. Gil’s shot hits the can, but both men are shaken by the incident. Pushing on, Continue reading
The Great Train Robbery is a 1903 American silent short Western film written, produced, and directed by Edwin S. Porter. At ten minutes long, it is considered a milestone in film making, expanding on Porter’s previous work Life of an American Fireman. The film used a number of innovative techniques including composite editing, camera movement and on location shooting. The film is one of the earliest to use the technique of cross cutting, in which two scenes appear to occur simultaneously but in different locations. Some prints were also hand colored in certain scenes. However, none of these techniques were original to The Great Train Robbery, and it is now considered that it was heavily influenced by Frank Mottershaw’s earlier British film A Daring Daylight Burglary.
Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 American western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan. Written by Robert Buckner, the film is about the abolitionist John Brown and his fanatical attacks on slavery as a prelude to the Civil War. Subthemes include J.E.B. Stuart and George Armstrong Custer as they duel for the hand of Kit Carson Holliday.
In 1642 in Leyden, Holland, Rembrandt van Rijn, a painter and miller’s son, experiences the death of his beloved wife Saskia and, during her funeral, finishes her portrait before her face fades for him forever. Later, while working on a painting commissioned by Captain Banning Cocq, Rembrandt depicts the sixteen gentlemen of the civic guard as disfigured. After humiliating them at a public unveiling of the painting, Rembrandt refuses to apologize and loses the portrait commissions that had assured his income. Still racked with grief about Saskia’s death, Rembrandt longs for another wife and marries the cold and shrewish Geertje Dirx. Ten years following Saskia’s death, Rembrandt has become bankrupt, and his house and its furnishing are sold at auction. He then paints a beggar and tells him the Biblical story of David and Saul. Geertje harangues Rembrandt about their poverty, and he learns that Govaert Flinck, an old student of his, is now making a handsome living painting aristocrats. Rembrandt, however, refuses to compromise his art for money. Because the king was once Rembrandt’s patron, Rembrandt finally agrees to see the prince, but goes instead to his father’s mill in Leyden and reads from the Bible at dinner. When he returns to Amsterdam, he meets his new housemaid, Hendrickje Stoffels, and paints her portrait. Jealous of Rembrandt’s attentions toward the kind and beautiful maid, Geertje threatens her. Rembrandt is intent on marrying her, but knows that half of Geertje’s money will go to Rembrandt’s son Titus if he remarries. When Hendrickje becomes pregnant, Geertje charges her with “unchastity, concubinage and immoral conduct.” Hendrickje is tried before a jury of Lutheran elders and is ex-communicated from the church. A forced sale of Rembrandt’s property drives him and Hendrickje into the country. When he sells a painting of the Blessed Virgin to an art buyer for the cardinal in Paris, the court purloins his paintings for his creditors, claiming that he has no right to sell his own work. Hendrickje cunningly becomes Rembrandt’s art dealer and the official owner of his paintings and is able to sell them. Hendrickje then gets sick from nursing their baby and sends the child to her mother.
In light of Hendrickje’s failing health, Rembrandt decides to marry her and, as Titus arrives with his bride, Rembrandt sends for the baby and Hendrickje’s mother. He then paints Hendrickje’s portrait as he did when they met, and she falls dead while posing. Years later, in 1669, Rembrandt has become a beggar and recites profound words to a group of young painters, who finally recognize him. He then begins a self-portrait, muttering the Biblical words of King Solomon, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
In the early days of World War II, a German U-boat is sunk in Canada’s Hudson Bay. Hoping to evade capture, a small band of German soldiers led by commanding officer Lieutenant Hirth (Eric Portman) attempts to cross the border into the United States, which has not yet entered the war and is officially neutral. Along the way, the German soldiers encounter brave men such as French-Canadian fur trapper Johnnie (Laurence Olivier) and soldier Andy Brock (Raymond Massey).