US, 1952, 82 minutes, Colour.
Tyrone Power, Cameron Mitchell, Thomas Gomez, Penny Edwards, Robert Horton.
Directed by Joseph Newman.
Pony Soldier is a brief western, set in Canada. Tyrone Power portrays Duncan Mac Donald, a member of the Mounted Police in western Canada – 1876 and newly established with three hundred police. They are sent on a mission to rescue white settlers from Indians. Thomas Gomez portrays the guide.
The film shows the way of life of the Indians in Canada, the clashes with the white settlers as well as with the police – although the film ends with some sentiment, with Mac Donald adopting a young Indian boy.
One of the routine westerns made by the studios at this stage of the 1950s – and one of the many star vehicles for Tyrone Power.
1. A good and enjoyable western? Special? What conventions of the western did it rely on and how well?
2. The film as a western of the 50s, the use of colour, locations, the presentation of the Mounties, the Indians? Tyrone Power as hero?
3. The authentic atmosphere of the film? The presentation of maps? The history of Canada and the Indians? The narrative of the Pony Soldiers?
4. The film as a tribute? How valuable? The ending?
5. The character of the pony soldier, his office work, his volunteering for active service, his type? the American hero, his risk in danger, his work for the Indians and success?
6. . The presentation of the Mounties, their role in Canada’s history, their brining law and order to the West? Discipline, the use of scouts, the humour of the deals with the scouts?
7. The film's presentation of the Indians, their way of life, the dilemmas with the American soldiers, the need for food, rituals and traditions, different laws?
8. The decision to ambush the girl and the man, their treatment at of them, the dangers?
9. The Indian clashes amongst themselves and the presentation of their ways of life, the human issues, violence and jealousy? Right prevailing at the end? The decision to abide by the Mounties’ law?
10. The humour and sentiment of the young boy taking the pony soldier as his father?
11. How realistically were the race issues, social issues and law and order treated? The satisfactory resolution of the film? How would this kind of film be made now?
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