Director: Hall Bartlett, Jules Bricken.
Starring: Jeff Chandler (Major Clint Drango), Joanne Dru (Kate Calder), Julie London (Shelby Ransom), Donald Crisp (Judge Allen), Ronald Howard (Clay Allen), John Lupton (Capt. Marc Banning), Walter Sande (Dr. Blair), Milburn Stone (Col. Bracken), Morris Ankrum (Henry Calder), Parley Baer (George Randolph), Damian O'Flynn (Gareth Blackford), Barney Phillips (Rev. Giles Cameron),Charles Horvath (Ragan), Katherine Warren (Mrs. Scott), Chubby Johnson (Zeb).
hostile reception of Union army during occupation of a town in Georgia
Major Clint Drango and his aide Capt. Marc Banning come to the town of Kennesaw Pass, Georgia. A Union man named Henry Calder is put on trial for killing a man who was with a group of night riders that tried to kill him. The town wants to hang the man.
Drango has to serve as the judge in a trial of Calder, but the towns people don't even want to serve on a jury to judge the man. Judge Allen has refused to cooperate with the Major to hold a trial. Daughter Kate Calder wants Drango to be taken to Fort Dalton so he can be given a fair trial.
At night a group of townsmen take Henry Calder from the jail and hang him. Kate Calder is furious with the Major and says that he is the one who killed her father.
The Major goes after the vigilantes. They get no cooperation from the locals. But they do get a lot of hateful attitudes towards the Yankees.
The Major goes to one of the plantations in the area. A beautiful woman named Shelby Ransom comes racing her horse up to the plantation. She is also nasty to the Major and his aide. She complains about Sherman's March to the Sea. Inside the house she harbors the men who lynched Henry Calder. Clay Allen is the leader of the group. He wants to support an attack on Fort Dalton. He says they will take back everything the Union troops took from them. Sheby says
Col. Bracken and reinforcements come to town and balls Drango out. The Colonel wants Drango to be very hard on the people of the town and he thinks Drango is too much of a softie. Kate Calder denounces Major Drango to the Colonel. The Colonel tells Drango that he will soon replaced him.
Clay Allen has a night meeting to plan an uprising. He tells his men that this time they will win.
Drango is of the school of Lincoln in his approach to the South, no malice, but mercy and charity for all. (Which in reality means no mercy and charity for the blacks who will soon be back in virtual economic slavery.)
Drango has his work cut out for him as he still gets no cooperation from the town residents. They won't even help him unload the supplies for the town residents. Two young boys start shooting at the lines of people waiting for supplies. They decided to shoot their way in and grab some much needed supplies. The Major and Captain disarm the two boys.
The Mayor is like Jesus. He always turns the other cheek to really nasty comments from the town residents, who only show him disrespect.
One of the townsmen tries to assassinate the local doctor. One of the local boys, Zeb, distracts the doctor and the man knocks out the doctor with his pistol. Clay Allen and his men steal the supplies from the Union army. The town drunk comes over and is shot in the back by a gunman. The doctor regains consciousness enough to try and shoot one of the raiders. The raider shoots the doctor in the chest. The doctor still manages to shoot one of the raiders. The Major has to serve as the doctor to get the bullet out from the physician's chest. Kate Calder serves as his nurse.
A few of the towns men now start changing their attitude seeing as how Clay's men tried to kill the doctor. Kate tells the Major that he is not going to get the help of the townsmen. Drango tells her she can't afford to stay so bitter in her heart towards everyone. She tells him she doesn't even feel like a woman anymore.
Allen gets really mad at the local newspaper man because he said something nice about Major Drango. Captain Banning is discouraged by the attitudes of the locals to the Union forces.
Durango brings out supplies to a family who lost their parents in the war. The youngest ones come out to takes some of the goodies. And now Zeb finally comes out.
Captain Banning has fallen in love with Shelby.
The night raiders burn the newspaper building and it is feared that Tommy, the son of the newspaper people, might have bee caught in the fire. Drango goes into the office and finds Tommy dead. The Major now says that no one will get any more rations until those responsible for the arson are turned into the authorities.
Drango attends a town meeting of the people. He says that ". . .we're not one people anymore." Towns people have lynched a man, shot the doctor, killed a child and burned down the newspaper." The people start bending more and more toward Drango, so Clay Allen reminds everyone that Drango rode with Sherman in his March to the Sea.
Drango tries to arrest Allen, but no one will testify against Allen. So Drango leaves the meeting alone.
At the bar, the bartender won't serve Drango. And a local tries to pick a fight with Drango. Drango loses his temper and beats the man into unconsciousness.
The Union is sending great forces to help subdue the South.
Drango tells Kate that it was Allen who lynched her father. Kate wants action taken against Allen. Drango says he can't even arrest Allen because he can get no cooperation for the town.
Capt. Banning says at first he disagreed with Drango's lenient policies toward the towns people. But now he's supporting the major.
Allen sets ups a trap to kill Banning. He forces Shelby to write a note asking Banning to come out quickly to her plantation.
The Major visits the Colonel at Fort Dalton. There he learns that Stanton's troops will be coming in three days to Kennesaw Pass. He hurries
On his way back he sees some towns people burying someone. He finds out that it is Captain Banning being buried. Allen killed him. Allen is starting his little uprising now. Kate tells him not to go back to town.
Allen wears his Confederate uniform. Judge Allen scolds his son for being the ring leader of the mob. Actually, he has probably up to a hundred people. They are headed to attack Fort Dalton. The judge tries to stop him, but Clay just slaps him across the face.
Drango arrives to face Clay and his men. Clay tries to kill Drango, but the judge shoots his son off his horse. His foot gets caught and the horse drags him through the main street of town. Now the judge speaks out against his own son and for Drango. And now, like some miracle, the towns people follow Drango the Fort Dalton to get supplies for the town residents.
The United States has still yet to face it's number one problem: racism. Southern culture, economy and politics grew out of a slave society. The South was completely racist and killed some 623,000 men to hold on to its racism and slavery. Lincoln never faced up to racism and blacks in the South were forced into virtual economic slavery. Then came the apartheid system, which was called by the innocuous title of Jim Crow. The lax policies of the North to the question of racism in the South allowed all this to take place. We had a Civil Rights Movement and made real progress. But then the liberals went back to sleep and with their lax attitude to racism allowed the South to threaten to take over the entire nation with its racism and hate. And now we have just awakened to the real threat of the Rise of South (as in the rebel yell of the South will rise again). When, if ever, will the USA fully awaken to the dangers of racism and force racism and racists out of its culture, economy and politics? They can't carry on with its "soft" policies toward racism if they truly want to rid the nation of racism.
The movie was the typical Lincoln soft approach to the South. And 150 years after the Civil War our nation is paralyzed by Southern resistance and racism. So, pardon me, but I can't be enthused about a movie that coddles the South and racism. There was not even one black person in the movie. That makes it easier to accept Drango's oh-so-sweet attitude to the white South. The real victims of the Lincoln attitude were the blacks, but we all are still paying an immense price for these soft-on-racism attitudes.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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