Monday, March 22, 2021


 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

Do you have that movie, that when it comes around, you just have to stop and watch it?  There are many like that for me. Even when they asked what your favorite movie was in our staff meeting the other day I had to think about it. Since I'm a big fan of Kurosawa, "The Seven Samurai" popped out. I love it, subtitles and all. But there are other films that are not as well known that also draw my attention. One such is the film "Dark Command".

Image from IMDb

Based on the novel "The Dark Command: a Kansas Illiad" by W. R. Burnett, written in 1938, the film was released in 1940 staring: Walter Pigeon, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Claire Trevor, George 'Gabby' Hayes, and directed by Raoul Walsh. 

The story, just prior to the Civil War, is one of the clashings of ideas and the personal costs to those involved. Pigeon plays William 'Will' Cantrell. Will is in love with Mary McCloud and convinces her to marry him. However, the war takes its toll, and Will changes before our eyes. To complicate matters, Bob Seton, John Wayne, shows up and also is in love with Mary. Add to the mix Fletch McCloud, Roy Rogers, as Mary's brother who follows Will on his raids, but as time progresses he finds himself wondering about Will. Throw in the raid on Lawrence, Kansas and you have a film that keeps you engaged.

Image of Claire Trevor
from Wikipedia

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Art Direction and Best Music Score. 

Of course, the film is deeper and more complex than my description, but it is one I will always stop to watch it whenever it shows up. Not only is it fun to watch a young Roy Rogers, a non-singing role, give a brilliant performance, but you also get to see John Wayne and Claire Trevor together after their pairing in 'Stagecoach' released the year prior. If you get the chance, check it out.

What films do you stop to watch when they show up?

For more on W. R. Burnett: Wikipedia 

For more on the cast, crew, and reviews: Dark Command, IMDb

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

Post (c) Doris McCraw


  1. Thanks for the tip. I'll look out for this movie.

    1. You are welcome. It never fails to pull me in. Doris

  2. Great blog, Doris.
    I have several favorites that I will watch over and over. Among them are Last of the Dogmen, Open Range, Hostiles, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Magnificent Seven (or equally good, the original Seven Samurai), The Oxbow Incident and The Cheyenne Social Club. I also look forward every year to reruns of White Christmas and The Wizard of Oz.

    1. Oh yes, Oxbow, Open Range and Cheyenne Social Club are favorites of mine also. ( I own both Maginificent Seven and Seven Samurai) I admit for Christmas it "Bernard and the Genie" for me. LOL. Doris


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