Synopsis: In 1866, a new gold discovery and an inconclusive conference force the U.S. Army to build a road and fort in territory ceded by previous treaty to the the disgust of frontier scout Jim Bridger, whose Cheyenne wife led him to see the conflict from both sides. The powder-keg situation needs only a spark to bring war, and violent bigots like Lieut. Rob Dancy are all too likely to provide this. Meanwhile, Bridger's chance of preventing catastrophe is dimmed by equally wrenching personal conflicts. Unusually accurate historically.
Director(s): George Sherman
Production: Universal
82 min

This is the Territory of Wyoming

the year 1866.

On this soft sunlit day

of early Summer,

men of two different worlds

have come together to talk.

There is bitterness,

suspicion and distrust.

You remember your friends and

loved ones who have been killed.

You've seen the bones of

settlers on the trail

and the bleached ribs

of their wagons.

And still they come, pushing West

with a vision.

A vision of farm and town

on land they can call their own.

They come to reclaim the

wilderness under your protection:

the Army of the United States.

And in your hearts and minds

there is also bitterness and hate

because you also

have a vision

of sacred hunting grounds

silent and empty

of buffalo, elk and beaver.

Your food, clothing and shelter

vanished forever.

Of starvation and sickness

where once there was plenty.

This is the Laramie Conference

a powder keg that may

explode at any moment.

It would take little

to light the fuse.

There are important

and powerful men here.

On one side,

The leaders of the Sioux Nations.

On the other side,

representatives of the US.

On this day, it will take

a great man to see both sides.

Jim Bridger, pioneer,

trapper and scout

is such a man!

If I remember right this is the

4th time the American government

has talked treaty with the Sioux.

The first treaty pushed the Sioux

back into Wyoming,

then we pushed him back further.

Last year we shoved him back

some more into the river basin,

in the country east

of the Big Horns.

That was supposed to be final.

Mr. Bridger, we're not discussing

previous treaties.

I am Mr. Davis.

I'm sorry but I am talking

previous treaties.

I rode over 200 miles to say my say

and it'll get said my way.

You're planning to build a road

over a trail Bozeman mapped out

that runs through the middle of

the Sioux's last hunting lands.

Gold has been discovered in Montana.

Thousands of people are waiting.

But if wagons and troops start

moving up that road,

that's the end of the buffalo

in Wyoming,

and that's the end of the Sioux.

The buffalo means everything

to these people. Their food,

their clothing, skin for tipis,

bones for weapons.

We've been told it's

the only feasible route.

You've been told wrong Mr. Davis.

Last year Bozeman and

I ran a race with wagons.

He went over his trail, I over

one they call the Bridger trail

west of the Big Horns,

outside Sioux Territory.

34 days to get to Virginia City,

just two days longer than Bozeman.

If we want peace with these

Indians it'll cost us something.

The Sioux has already paid plenty

we can pay 2 days extra travel.

Sounds feasible.

- Now we'II...

- One moment gentlemen.

Before you're swept off your feet

you should consider

where Mr. Bridger's sympathies lie.

Monahseetah is Cheyenne.

She's from Kansas.

The Powder River country

is of no concern to her.

But she is of great concern to you.

And your friend Sol Beckworth,

hasn't he lived among Indians?

Chief Two Bears asks,

if no one will listen to Bridger,

will they listen to anyone else?

The purpose of this conference

is to reach an agreement.

Tell him we're here

in all good faith to...

In all good faith?

That the American Cavalry's

been ordered to build a fort

above the Powder River?

Are Col. Carrington and his men

here to prove your good faith?

- Who told you?

- Mr. Bridger,

one of these chiefs

may know English.

I am Sioux Chief.

I am called Makhpiya Luta,

which means "Red Cloud".

I understand and speak your language.

I understand even

what you do not say.

We certainly didn't expect

to keep the fort a secret.

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Silvia Richards

Silvia Richards was a screenwriter who worked on a number of films in the 1940s and 1950s, including the film noir Ruby Gentry and the Western Rancho Notorious. She also wrote for television in the 1950s and early 1960s. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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