Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Drum Beat (1954)

Drum Beat (1954)

Tough Indian fighter Johnny MacKay (Alan Ladd) is appointed to make peace with a troublesome tribe in California in this fact-based western, which gave Charles Bronson his first starring role.

Writer/director Delmer Daves toiled away in the public record office in order to be as impartial as possible in his account of the 1869 Modoc uprising.


The script has an intelligence that matches his earlier Broken Arrow (1950), one of the first Hollywood features to see the Wild West from the native American perspective.

The upstanding Ladd is upstaged by the young Bronson as Modoc brave Captain Jack, while J Peverell Marley’s views of the Oregon/California landscape are stunning.

Johnny MacKay
Alan Ladd
Captain Jack
Charles Bronson
Nancy Meek
Audrey Dalton
Marisa Pavan
Bill Satterwhite
Robert Keith
Scarface Charlie
Rodolfo Acosta
General Canby
Warner Anderson
Elisha Cook Jr
Anthony Caruso
Dr Thomas
Richard Gaines

Delmer Daves