Add a Review

  • Ray Nazarro directs from a screenplay written by Ray Buffum and DeVallon Scott. It stars Gary Merrill, Wanda Hendrix, John Bromfield, Noah Beery Junior, Jay Silverheels, Fay Roope and Howard Wendell. Music is by Mischa Bakaleinikoff and Technicolor cinematography is by Ellis W. Carter.

    "During the Civil War, Southern sympathisers made desperate efforts to aid the Confederacy by inciting Indian uprisings against defenceless towns along the Western frontier. The objective was to force large withdrawals of Northern troops from the main battlefronts, leaving them more vulnerable to Southern attack. This is the story of one such attempt that took place in Dakota territory in the year 1864."

    A colourful and brisk picture that finds the efficient Nazarro cramming as much Oater styled fun as he can into just over an hour of film. The core basics of the story is full of intrigue, with undercover Confederate operatives moving amongst Union denizens as the Sioux argue amongst themselves about the viability of Abe Lincoln's offer of peace. There's a bit of thought gone into the screenplay, even offering up one or two genuine surprises, while it's nice to find that the lead female role played by Hendrix gives us a feisty femme of substance as opposed to the many other dressage characterisations that so dominated other 50s Oaters. California location landscapes a bonus, as is Beery Junior's commitment to his role, and Nazarro knows his way around a violent action scene.

    Fun enough while it's on without ever breaking out of its very basic "B" Western worth, The Black Dakotas is regardless above average and worth some viewing time by fans of such high spirited dusters. 6/10
  • This color western from the 1950's is most notable for a rare, non-Lone Ranger appearance by Clayton Moore (unbilled) and Jay Silverheels. The story is engaging but most of the cast seems detached from their performances.

    Jay Silverheels stands out in a great role as the Native-American leader. Gary Merrill does the best with the script given him. the action scenes are well-staged and help move the average script along.The storyline is a familiar one, but the top-notch production value makes this one worth checking out This is not a great western, but there are worse ways to kill an hour of your free time.
  • Gary Merrill stars in this low budget B western from Columbia in which the villain is top billed. Merrill plays a southerner sent out on a mission to disrupt treaty negotiations with the Sioux in the Dakota territory while the Civil War is on. There's a treaty on its way to the Sioux already signed on the Union end by President Abraham Lincoln and arriving later a shipment of gold for the Sioux valued at $100,000.00. That's for not attacking the settlers out in Dakota.

    But Merrill is in business for himself. He shoots the American envoy and takes his place. He nearly gets away with what he's doing, but it's a question of one double cross too many.

    Merrill's villainy totally dominates the proceedings here. John Bromfield is the northern boy and Wanda Hendrix the southern girl who help put a stop to things. Some more western familiar faces are here. A lot of the cast is killed most by Merrill, some on his behalf before things are set right.

    A little far fetched but entertaining nonetheless.
  • Complex B-western with shifting loyalties and a few surprises. In the Dakotas, it's Civil War southerners conspiring against northerners for possession of big money, with the Sioux nation as a wild card. Needless to say, you may need a scorecard to keep track. Nonetheless, the screenplay is offbeat and generally unpredictable, always a plus for a western.

    There's also some surprisingly graphic violence on-screen, without the usual cut-aways to spare viewer feelings. Merrill's not a typical western lead, but then he's not playing a cowboy. Instead, he's an agent from Washington, but of uncertain loyalty. Watch for Noah Beery Jr. as Gimpy, bringing his usual down-home color to the role. All in all, it's an offbeat little western with some pleasant LA area scenery, which is enough for most of us.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When you come right down to it, there aren't a lot of good guys here. The only one that comes to mind is moderate Mike Daugherty (John Bromfield) as the head of a stage line company. Everyone else, and that includes fiancée Ruth Lawrence (Wanda Hendrix), had at least a little bit of larceny in their heart which leads to the undoing of more or less everybody in the picture.

    The premise is laid out in the opening screen narrative that states how Southern sympathizers aided the Confederacy during the Civil War by fomenting trouble in remote parts of the country to draw away Union forces from the main areas of battle. Interestingly, there really aren't any direct confrontations between the Blue and the Gray in the story, what we have is the old double cross perpetrated by a Southern Reb (Gary Merrill) who we eventually learn has loyalty to neither side. He's in it for himself.

    What's really troubling is when you drill down to the motives of the Southern sympathizers led by the short lived John Lawrence (Fay Roope). He and his bunch were quite willing to deceive the nearby Sioux Indian tribe led by Chief War Cloud (John War Eagle, love that name) with a government peace treaty and a promise of a hundred thousand dollars in gold. Intending all along to steal the gold for the Confederate cause, this betrayal would have led to the Sioux massacre of the entire nearby town. That takes a special kind of villainy that isn't found in your usual old time Western fare.

    Nice to see some familiar faces in unfamiliar territory here. Jay Silverheels steps off the set of 'The Lone Ranger' TV show to portray the war hawk of his tribe, Black Buffalo, while Clayton Moore makes a couple of spot appearances as henchman Stone, one of the Lawrence gang. A puzzler is the role Noah Beery Jr. has, he's a Southern loyalist with that friendly good guy persona who takes out the town marshal (Robert F. Simon) and judge (Howard Wendell) by bushwhacking them through the jail-house window. As mentioned earlier, he would have been one of the guys who wouldn't have had a problem if the Sioux wiped out his fellow citizens as a means to an end.

    In the finale, level headed Mike Daugherty makes the save by taking down Brock Marsh (Merrill) following an outlaw shoot out with the stage carrying the gold shipment. If you take note of that battle, you'd have to agree there's a fair degree of marksmanship on both sides as stage guards and bandits routinely pick each other off as they seek cover behind boulders and other protection. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but it was getting time to wrap things up.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Black Dakotas" is a tight action packed little 65 minutes of a western. It takes place in 1864 during the American Civil War.

    An emissary from President Lincoln, Zachary Paige (Frank Wilcox) is being sent to negotiate a treaty with the Sioux Indians under Chief War Cloud (John War Eagle). The Indians are to be paid $100K as part of the deal. Brock Marsh (Gary Merrill) is travelling with him when their stage coach is stopped. John Lawrence (Fay Roope) is a southern patriot who plans to substitute Marsh for Zachary and divert the gold shipment to the confederacy. After Lawrence leaves, Marsh , who has his own plans, murders Paige.

    Later in town a posse headed by Marshal Collins (Robert F. Simon) brings Lawrence in under arrest. With the urging of loud mouthed townsman Grimes (Peter Whitney) a trial is quickly held and Lawrence sentenced to be hanged. In spite of the intervention of stage line owner Mike Daugherty (John Bromfield) and Lawrence's fiery young daughter Ruth (Wanda Hendrix), Lawrence is hanged and Marsh puts his plan into action. Gimpy Joe Woods (Noah Beery Jr.) reveals himself to Marsh as Lawrence's right hand man and agrees to help him get the gold for the south.

    Daugherty agrees to take Marsh (as Paige) to the Indian village but are attacked by renegade Black Buffalo (Jay Silverheels). Marsh almost is burned at the stake before being rescued by Gimpy and a posse. They go on to meet with the Chief to negotiate the treaty.

    Later, Sheriff Collins and Judge Baker(Howard Wendell) discover that Marsh is an impostor forcing Gimpy to reluctantly gun them down. Grimes and the townspeople believe that Ruth did the shooting and set out to get her. Then as the stage carrying the gold approaches......................................

    As it turns out, top billed Merrill is the chief villain who ruthlessly guns down several people over the course of the film. Bromfield is the hero and Hendrix the object of his affections. Lawrence's gang includes such recognizable faces as James Griffith, Richard Webb, Clayton Moore and Chris Alcaide. Silent screen veterans Heinie Conklin and Hank Mann have small parts as townsmen. There's also a couple of good scraps involving Bromfield with Whitney and Merrill. I'm not sure but I think that this was the only feature film in which Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels appeared not as The Lone Ranger and Tonto.