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John Fords The Horse Soldiers John Fords film the Horse Soldiers is a stimulating and changeless stunning success featuring John Wayne in one of his best acting performances Wayne plays Colonel Marlowe a man that thinks that the Armys duty comes before being a humanitarian Wayne runs into a pacifist-leaning surgeon Major Kendall William Holden The film is set in 1863 as the practical-minded Colonel Marlowe is ordered by General Sherman to take a cavalry brigade 300 miles into enemy territory and destroy the railroad depot and all the tracks Marlowe is a bitter man unhappy that two doctors leaving him with only memories of her and a deep anger for doctors unsuccessfully operated his wife on There is no question of his ability to lead and his bravery in combat He will stop his troops from firing on Rebel kid soldiers Kendall is an equally persistent man a medical man who is dedicated to saving lives and is willing to stand up to his superior to fight for what he believes in To add some spice and romance to the tale Marlowe takes over Hannah Hunters Constance Towers mansion She has an attractive Southern belle who tricks him into thinking she is a bimbo and thereby discovers his military plans So he is forced to take her and her loyal Negro slave Lukey along Hunter is well thought of by Marlowe for her horsemanship loyalty to her cause As the two fight with each other throughout by the films climax they find they are in love For Ford it is another heavy symbolic moment pointing out that the country will only stand strong when it can love one another again and learn to respect those who fought for what they believed in Ford saves his anger for his real enemies two Confederate deserters He is knocked out by Marlowe and turned over to the local sheriff as a deserter Ford does not put up
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