The Battle of Rogue River

The Battle of Rogue River is a 1954 Technicolor Western film starring George Montgomery, Martha Hyer, and Richard Denning, directed by William Castle and produced by Sam Katzman. The screenplay is written by Douglas Heyes. It is set during the Rogue River Wars in the Oregon Territory but features the standard costumes of a post American Civil War western and was filmed on the Newhall Ranch, California.

The Battle of Rogue River
Original film poster
Directed byWilliam Castle
Produced bySam Katzman
Written byDouglas Heyes
StarringGeorge Montgomery
Martha Hyer
Richard Denning
Music byMischa Bakaleinikoff
George Duning
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 1, 1954 (1954-03-01)
Running time
71 min.
CountryUnited States


In the Oregon Territory prior to the American Civil War, Chief Mike (Michael Granger) has fought the US Army and the white settlers to a standstill. As a result, the post commander Major Wallach (Willis Bouchey) is replaced by Major Archer (George Montgomery). On the way to the fort, Major Archer's troop of cavalry accompanied by two field guns spot an ambush by Chief Mike's Indians. Major Archer orders one of the guns to fire knocking down a tree and panicking the "braves" who suffer no casualties.

On arrival at the Fort, Major Wallach has allowed the use of his barracks to recruit more Irregulars for Stacey Wyatt (Richard Denning) who accompany the regulars on their military expeditions. As the recruiting involves free alcohol and kisses by women to the volunteers (and to their Regular comrades-in-arms) Major Archer is furious and immediately takes command of the post to reinstall military discipline, retrain the men and plan another expedition. No one is more outraged than Sergeant Major McClain's (Emory Parnell) daughter Brett (Martha Hyer) who thinks Archer inhuman.

An emissary of Chief Mike comes to arrange a meeting between the new commander to discuss peace but Major Archer initially refuses until orders come for him to negotiate with the Indians. The Major and Chief meet with each respecting each other and arranging a thirty-day truce with the Indians and whites not crossing either side of the Rogue River.

Wyatt is secretly employed to keep the Indian wars going by a consortium of the territory's business community (mining, ranching, lumber, fur trade) who oppose Statehood that would ruin their profits. Wyatt tricks Sgt Major McClain into breaking the treaty by telling him the Indians have attacked a white settlement leading to all but McClain killed after they attack an Indian settlement.



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