Column South


Before the Civil War, Lt. Jed Sayre’s efforts to conciliate the cavalry and the Navajo are undermined by his racist C.O. and Confederate sympathizers.

ACTORS :  Audie Murphy, Joan Evans, Robert Sterling


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The Country Divides, The Army Divides


Column South finds Audie Murphy as an army lieutenant in acting command at Fort Union in New Mexico. The new commander Captain Robert Sterling with his sister Joan Evans arrives to take over and he’s a spit and polish short and his disposition ain’t helped when he comes into the fort and sees a brawl going about politics. It’s 1860 and the country is getting ready to divide sectionally.

But it’s still one army with a mission to keep the peace with the Navajo represented by Chief Dennis Weaver. But the growing divide may let the Indians conquer and Weaver is one smart and courageous warrior.

In fact Weaver is the best one in the cast, the one who steals the film in every scene he’s in. There’s also a good performance by Ray Collins who is a visiting general with a big agenda all his own.

Column South is a well done western with a good cast and a good story for this cast to perform. Definitely one of Audie Murphy’s better westerns.


An Audie Murphy Western from 1953. Murphy plays a cavalry officer stationed at a fort just before the outset of the Civil War. He is adept w/dealing w/the Navajos particularly the leader named Menguito, played by Dennis Weaver of TV’s McCloud fame, but he continues to butt heads w/his superior officer, a transplant from the old South who has recently been joined by his self-righteous sister who has an axe to grind w/any natives (a telling episode occurs when the scout of the base is seen at her window & she raises holy hell). The noose is tightened when a shipment of rifles goes missing & the military higher-ups suspect the Navajos of the theft so Murphy dejectedly conducts an investigation, finds the missing arms & orders Menguito & his tribe to a reservation but Murphy suspects foul play & as his suspicions are deepened, a more insidious plot asserts itself putting all parties on the road to an inevitable clash. More heft is given to this particular story-line then the majority of Murphy’s oater output & this one ranks as one of his best which deftly fuses action, drama & racism in a well told package. Along for the ride are Russell Johnson & James Best as Murphy’s subordinates & a special mention should go to Joan Evans who’s portrayal of an uptight bigot who changes her ways is very vivid & telling.

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