The Big Sky (1952)



Theirs the great adventure…

Jim Deakins is a frontiersman and Indian trader who is making a perilous journey with a group of other men up the Missouri River to get a large haul of furs from friendly Blackfoot Indians. The problem is that they have to get through hostile Indian territory first and they find that they have seriously underestimated the difficulties they will undergo. The large body of men who started the journey are gradually whittled down until only a hardy few, like Deakins, are left.

Written by
Alfred Jingle

In the early 1830\’s a group of men head up the Missouri river to trade with the Indians for fur pelts. Their goal is to meet the Blackfeet who have been friendly and are keen to trade. Jim Deakins is a member of the group and he is particularly interested in a Blackfoot woman, Teal Eye, who is traveling with the group. But then, so is his friend, Boone Caudill. Along the way they must face many dangers, from Mother Nature and the river itself as well as the fur trading company who want to keep their monopoly on trade. There are hostile Indians as well and slowly the men begin to wonder just how far they will make and whether they stand a chance of returning alive.

Written by

Frontiersmen Boone and Jim Deakins join up with Boone\’s Uncle Zeb on a fur-trading expedition into the uncharted Blackfoot territory. The expedition\’s leader, the Frenchman Jourdonnais, has a plan for succeeding where no white man has traded before: he plans to return a kidnapped Blackfoot princess, Teal Eye, to her people and thus to win their gratitude and trade. Guided by Teal Eye and a crazy warrior named Poordevil, the trappers travel upriver, only to find their greatest obstacle is not Indians, but a ruthless pack of fur traders led by MacMasters and his henchman Streak. Along the way, Boone and Jim Deakins both fall under the spell of the beautiful Teal Eye, and their friendship begins to crack.

Written by
Jim Beaver <[email protected]>

Genre: Drama,Western

The Big Sky (1952)
Release Date: 19 August 1952 (USA)
Country: USA
Director: Howard Hawks
  • Kirk Douglas
  • Dewey Martin
  • Elizabeth Threatt
  • Arthur Hunnicutt
  • Buddy Baer
  • Steven Geray
  • Henri Letondal
  • Hank Worden
  • Jim Davis

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14 Responses to The Big Sky (1952)

  1. erik_le67
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    I find Dewey Martin absolutely great in this movie. I would like to know if anyone has good links for photos of him in this movie.


  2. jcorelis
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    Does anyone know if a good Region 1 DVD of this is available or planned? I know there was a previous topic on this but it was some time ago, and apparently there wasn’t one at that point. The only thing I can find available on Amazon is from Spain. Thanks.

  3. matooriyan
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    It is unfortunate that "The Big Sky" has remained an underrated Hawks Western just as "Red River" by the same filmmaker, though good, is still overtly overrated!

  4. tallard
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    I wouldn’t normally stop my zapping for Kirk, but when I heard the trappers singing and speaking French in a "western" movie, I had to stop and look. After reading many comments, I can see why!

    It takes a great director to get so many things right. Most people are raving about script and scenery and music, but let me add the French spoken in the movie is quite typical of those days, as well as the dress and physical presence of these Metis trappers.

    Truly amazing movie!

    ***So I’ve seen 4 movies/wk in theatre for a 1/4 century, call me crazy?**

  5. danmartin1979
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    When is the R1 DVD of this movie expected to be released? There is already a special edition DVD out in France, with interviews with Hawks and Douglas, and commentary and liner notes from Todd McCarthy. Surely it wouldn’t be hard to release this DVD in the US soon.

    Check out the French DVD here:

  6. danielj_old999
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    and when was the old footage reedited in – anyone know?

  7. ben-thayer
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    I just don’t get it. This film utterly *screams* for a full-length, lovingly restored DVD release!!!

    And yet we have *nothing*….except the #%$* VHS version…what th’?

    Nope. Not even there. For that we have the bitter dregs, and I’m talking about the nauseating colorized version. Give us the original B&W Hawks’ visionary version with *all* the shocking scenes intact. Well…shocking for the day I suppose. Nothing like watching someone get stitched up with no anesthetic…or a finger chopped off with a little booze (or a lot) for prep. Sorry…some things stick with me over the years. And hey…doesn’t Poor Devil sally forth to scalp the deceased bad guys in one scene? Wasn’t there on the VHS version. Nevertheless, it remains a heckuva gripping piece of work, with the tremendously beautiful Elizabeth Threatt in her one and only role as Teal-Eye. Kirk and Dewey play off each other with Hawks precision, and Arthur Hunnicutt plays the exact same role he’s had in pretty much every other part he’s ever played! Perhaps that’s why he’s so darned well loved.

    "Well I’ll be dogged…!"

    And let us not forget Jim Davis in an early pre-CoffeeMate role as Streak. Classic stuff…just classic.

    C’mon, Powers that Be!!! What’s the holdup??? Let’s have it, huh???

  8. sandymetz
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    People say how good Hunnicutt was (and I agree) and I like Douglas and D. Martin… but in order for conflict to work you have to have a good performance by the "bad guy". I think Jim Davis was fantastic as Streak. He was a very under rated actor and through the years put in some good performances in movies and on tv with little notice except by his fans.

  9. slantt-1
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    If any of you want to see how a great story in a great book gets done in by Hollywood, read the original "The Big Sky" by A. B. Guthrie. And then read the sequel "The Way West".

  10. rhonda-yates
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    From BigPhil: As a kid I lived next door to Arthur Hunnicutt’s cousin. He too was named Hunnicutt and also came from the small town of Gravelly, Arkansas. At a tender age I knew who Arthur was and would always watch for him on tv. As you can see from his filmography he was on quite a lot.A few years ago out of curiosity I found his widow and called her out of the blue. She was very gracious and told me a lot of stories from their Hollywood years. She told me that Arthur was always well prepared for his roles and that producers liked to use him because he was a "one take actor". Go Arthur Lee! See you in the movies……..

  11. Django6924
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    Three times I have tried to tape this film off of TCM and each time something has happened in the satellite transmission that have made it impossible for me to get a decent recording. Makes you wonder if there isn’t some plot against people seeing this movie.

    Seriously, I wish someone would release a pristine DVD of this–I had a lousy VHS made off a worn-out release print many years ago, but even it finally failed. I also wonder what happened to the original version that Hawks cut. Anyone know who owns the rights?

  12. Soujurn
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    Whiskey leave me alone… Is sung at the start of this movie. This same song is also sung in another Howard Hawkes movie, Hatari w/ John Wayne. Did Hawkes really like this song or maybe he had the publishing rights and got money everytime it played? Who knows?

    I’d like to find out more about this tune if anyone has any info on it.

    "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."


  13. PatriciaGriffith
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    Where was The Big Sky filmed? Scenery was beautiful. Sorry, didn’t read other reviews. Will have to go to Jackson Hole and Tetons sometime. Has anyone else been? If so, what would you recommend? Would be neat to travel up/down river.

  14. leslie-162
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    Is the English language version of The Big Sky considered a rare movie? Should I set TiVo to record this for me?

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