By Arthur Flynn

For most of his career stories with western backgrounds were one of the favourite forms of film for John Ford.
Rio Grande (1950) was the last instalment of Ford’s great Calvary Trilogy. The previous pair were Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Ford did extensive research into the background to these periods.

This film was based on a historical incident and set in the late Fall of 1879. Colonel McKenzie led the 5th Cavalry across the River Grande to destroy a Kickapoo village in Mexico from where raids were launched.

Compared to the two previous films Rio Grande was a minor work. Ford’s intention was to primarily raise finance for his long running project The Quiet Man, that he would shoot the following year in Ireland.

The film for Republic Films was produced by Merian C. Cooper, John Ford and Herbert J. Yates with director of photography Bert Gleeson and music by Dale Evans, Stan Jones, Tex Owens and Victor Young.

The screenplay was written by James Warner Bellah and James Kevin McGuinness from the story Mission With No Record by James Warner Bellah.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own