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Dark Command (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 15 April 1940 (USA)
In Kansas, during the Civil War opposing pro-Union and pro-Confederate camps clash and visiting Texan Bob Seton runs afoul of William Cantrell's Raiders.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Grover Jones (screenplay), Lionel Houser (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claire Trevor ... Mary McCloud
John Wayne ... Bob Seton
Walter Pidgeon ... William 'Will' Cantrell
Roy Rogers ... Fletch McCloud
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Doc Grunch (as George Hayes)
Porter Hall ... Angus McCloud
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Cantrell / Mrs. Adams
Raymond Walburn ... Judge Buckner
Joe Sawyer ... Bushropp (as Joseph Sawyer)
Helen MacKellar ... Mrs. Hale
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dave
Trevor Bardette ... Mr. Hale
Edit

Storyline

When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A drama of undying love

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Comando Negro See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA "High Fidelity" Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: Some portions of this photoplay are based upon actual incidents in the lives of its principal characters. All other events and characters are fictitious, and any similarity to actual events or persons is coincidental. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the trial, the judge makes the announcement that the South has succeeded from the Union and Fort Sumter has been attacked, as if these two events occurred simultaneously. In actuality, seven states seceded in the period between South Carolina in December 1860 and Texas in February 1861 before the Confederate States of America was declared in February 1961. There was a lull of over a month until the shelling of Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861. After the fall of Fort Sumter four more states seceded in May 1861, making eleven total in the CSA. See more »

Quotes

[she holds a rifle on her son, William, to prevent him from going upstairs after his wife]
William Cantrell: Say, what's the matter with you? What's that gun for?
Mrs. Cantrell: It's for you, Will. I thought I'd borned a man-child when I first hear'd you squallin'. But I didn't. I borned a dirty murderin' snake that's broke my heart to see it crawlin' along. You're no good, Will.
William Cantrell: I've killed a lot of men for saying less than that.
Mrs. Cantrell: You've killed a lot of men for sayin' nuthin' at all! Kansas is red with their bleedin'. I curse ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In those years, 1859 and on, in the dusk before the nation plunged into the red night of civil warfare, the plains of Kansas were an earlier battleground. Down from the north, down to Kansas: up from the south, up to Kansas, came hordes - each bent on voting the territory into the Union as its own. The battle cry of the day was - - "On to Kansas." See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Edited into Law of the Golden West (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Gwine to Rune All Night (De Camptown Races)
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played at Cantrell's Camp
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Duke in 'Bloody Kansas', in his first Republic 'A'-List Feature!
6 September 2006 | by cariartSee all my reviews

After the spectacular success of John Wayne in "Stagecoach", Republic realized they actually had an 'A'-list star...still making 'B' movies! While Duke was on loan to RKO for "Allegheny Uprising" (continuing to 'farm out' their biggest star out to major studios would provide a MAJOR source of cash for the small studio), Republic worked on creating their first 'major' western, borrowing MGM's Walter Pigeon, top Warner director Raoul Walsh (who'd directed Wayne's failed initial 'starring' role, "The Big Trail", ten years earlier), Claire Trevor (in what would be her third teaming with Wayne in two years), rising star Roy Rogers (who'd inherited the "Singing Cowboy" roles a dubbed Wayne had played in the thirties), and ever-popular Gabby Hayes (a frequent Wayne co-star for nearly a decade).

The result of all the assembled talent was a well-crafted, if still modestly-budgeted film, showcasing Duke's charisma and 'star' quality. As an illiterate but straight-talking Texan in Lawrence, Kansas, Duke wins the hearts of the townspeople and (eventually) banker's daughter Trevor, over intellectual schoolteacher William Cantrell (Pidgeon, playing a variation of infamous Southern guerrilla fighter William Quantrell). With the beginning of the Civil War, Cantrell, showing the signs of insanity his mother (the ever-wonderful Marjorie Main) had warned him of inheriting, recruits an 'army' of mercenaries, dons a stolen Rebel uniform, and burns and pillages, with Duke in pursuit, climaxing in a last-ditch defense of Lawrence.

While very 'fast and loose', historically, "Dark Command" is great fun, and the Wayne/Trevor chemistry was never more enjoyable!


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