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Encyclopedia > Soldier Blue

Soldier Blue is an American western movie made in 1970 and directed by Ralph Nelson. It includes a fictionalized account of the events surrounding the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre in the Colorado Territory.

It was written by John Gay based on the novel Arrow in the Sun by Theodore V. Olsen. It starred Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, and Donald Pleasence. The title song was peformed by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

The movie was controversial at the time not only for its subject matter as a revisionist western, but for its graphic depiction of violence.

Released during the height of the Vietnam War against the backdrop of the courts martial stemming from the My Lai incident, it provided the first motion picture account of one of the most infamous incidents in the history of the American frontier, in which United States cavalry troops massacred an undefended village of Cheyenne and Arapaho on the Colorado eastern plains.

Nelson, who also appeared in the movie in a minor role, pushed the depiction of the violence to explicit levels, showing nudity during rape scenes, as well as "realistic" close-up shots of bullets ripping into flesh in a manner that anticipated later directors such as Quentin Tarantino.

The account of the massacre is fictionalized in the context of a longer story involving the escape of white survivors from an earlier massacre of cavalry troops by Indians.


Avco Embassy Pictures, 1970

  • Producer - Harold Loeb and Gabriel Katzka
  • Executive Producer - Joseph E. Levine
  • Director - Ralph Nelson
  • Screenplay - John Gay


  • Kathy Maribel Lee - Candice Bergen
  • Honus Gent - Peter Strauss
  • Isaac Q. Cumber - Donald Pleasence
  • Colonel Iverson - John Anderson
  • Spotted Wolf - Jorge Rivero
  • Captain Battles - Dana Elcar
  • Lieutenant McNair - Bob Carraway
  • Lieutenant Spingarn - Martin West
  • Private Menzies - James Hampton
  • Sergeant O'Hearn - Mort Mills
  • Running Fox - Jorge Russek
  • Indian Woman - Aurora Clavell
  • Agent Long - Ralph Nelson

  Results from FactBites:
Soldier Blue (1812 words)
Soldier Blue is a forgotten film about the Western battles between whites and Indians in the West in the 1860s.
Soldier Blue obviously features a much less important star, Candice Bergen, as opposed to Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. The greatest difference between the two films lies in the comparative sophistication of their points of view.
The white soldiers are shown chopping off the heads of Indian women on camera, ripping off all their clothing and raping them, and mutilating their bodies by cutting off their breasts with knives.
  More results at FactBites »



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