The Plainsman

1936, Western, 1h 53m

20 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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Movie Info

In this Western from renowned director Cecil B. DeMille, Wild Bill Hickok (Gary Cooper) is caught in the midst of a battle between Indians and General Custer's troops. Having secured the release of Calamity Jane (Jean Arthur) from her Native American captors, Wild Bill aims to settle a score with the greedy gun merchant who armed the Indians. With the help of Buffalo Bill Cody (James Ellison), he gets his man -- but pays a price in the process.

Cast & Crew

Gary Cooper
Wild Bill Hickok
Jean Arthur
Calamity Jane
James Ellison
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody
Charles Bickford
John Lattimer
Porter Hall
Jack McCall
Victor Varconi
Painted Horse
Helen Burgess
Louisa Cody
John Miljan
Gen. George A. Custer
Paul Harvey
Yellow Hand
Frank McGlynn
Abraham Lincoln
Lynn Riggs
Screenwriter
Harold Lamb
Screenwriter
Waldemar Young
Screenwriter
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Critic Reviews for The Plainsman

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (20)

Audience Reviews for The Plainsman

  • Mar 04, 2008
    DeMille attempts his standard epic story. Like the opening text states, which scrolls by similarly to Star Wars' opening, the story plays loosely with history in order to condense events and characters that "conquered" the west. It is full of themes of Manifest Destiny, "wild" white men who decimate supposedly savage Native Americans to make the west safe for fragile homemaking women, or even the tom-boyish types like Calamity Jane. The stars Cooper as Wild Bill Hickok and Arthur as Calamity Jane are both likeable, but have had better roles elsewhere. Ellison as Buffalo Bill Cody (let me tell you, it is confusing with two characters named Bill!) was an unknown to me. He does an acceptable job standing eye to eye with the 6' 3" Cooper. Bickford as a John Latimer pulls off a somewhat menacing villain. I didn't like the racist portrayal of the Native Americans. I liked how both frontiersmen, both Bills, had the skills for tracking and killing because they were veterans of the Civil War and yet they were "long-hairs" who couldn't fit in in civilization. Yet, I don't think this movie explored those themes enough.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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