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Dark Command
File:Dark Command 1940.jpg
1940 movie poster
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Written by screenplay by
Jan Fortune
F. Hugh Herbert
Lionel Houser
Grover Jones
from the novel by
W.R. Burnett
Starring Claire Trevor
John Wayne
Walter Pidgeon
Roy Rogers
George "Gabby" Hayes
Porter Hall
Marjorie Main
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Jack A. Marta
Editing by William Morgan
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date(s) April 15, 1940 (1940-04-15)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $750,000[1]

Dark Command is a 1940 western film loosely based on Quantrill's Raiders in the American Civil War. Directed by Raoul Walsh from the novel by W.R. Burnett, the film features Claire Trevor, John Wayne and Walter Pidgeon. Dark Command is the only film in which western icons John Wayne and Roy Rogers appear together, and was the first film Wayne and Raoul Walsh made together since Wayne's first leading role in the widescreen western The Big Trail a decade before.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Art Direction by John Victor Mackay.[2]

Plot summary[]

Mary McCloud (Claire Trevor) marries a seemingly peaceful Kansas schoolteacher William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon), before finding out that he harbors a dark secret. He is actually an outlaw leader who attacks both sides in the Civil War for his own profit. After capturing a wagon loaded with Confederate uniforms, he decides to pass himself off as a Confederate officer. Her naive, idealistic brother Fletcher (Roy Rogers) joins what he believes is a Rebel guerrilla force. Meanwhile, Cantrell's stern, but loved mother (Marjorie Main) refuses to accept any of her son's ill-gotten loot.

A former suitor of Mary's, Union supporter Bob Seton (John Wayne), is captured by Cantrell and scheduled for execution. After being rescued by a disillusioned Fletcher McCloud, Seton and Mary Cantrell race to the town of Lawrence (site of an actual infamous Quantrill-led massacre) to warn the residents of an impending attack by Cantrell's gang.


  • Claire Trevor as Mary McCloud
  • John Wayne as Bob Seton
  • Walter Pidgeon as William 'Will' Cantrell
  • Roy Rogers as Fletcher 'Fletch' McCloud
  • George 'Gabby' Hayes as Andrew 'Doc' Grunch
  • Porter Hall as Angus McCloud
  • Marjorie Main as Mrs. Cantrell, aka Mrs. Adams
  • Raymond Walburn as Judge Buckner
  • Joe Sawyer as Bushropp (guerrilla)
  • Helen MacKellar as Mrs. Hale
  • J. Farrell MacDonald as Dave (gunrunner)
  • Trevor Bardette as Mr. Hale

See also[]

  • List of American films of 1940
  • John Wayne filmography (1926-1940)


External links[]

ca:Dark Command fr:L'Escadron noir sv:Dark Command