Music directorDimitri Tiomkin Duration CountryUnited States
WriterDaniel Mainaring, Harry Brown Release dateMarch 4, 1952 (1952-03-04) (New York City) CastRay Milland (Kern Shafter), Hugh Marlowe (Capitano Garnett), Helena Carter (Josephine Russell), Forrest Tucker (Donavan), Barton MacLane (Capt. Myles Moylan), George Reeves (Lt. Smith) Similar movies7th Cavalry (1956), The Command (1954), The Great Sioux Massacre (1965), Warpath (1951), The Glory Guys (1965)
Bugles in the afternoon
Bugles in the Afternoon is a 1952 Western feature film starring Ray Milland, based on the novel by Ernest Haycox. The story features the Battle of the Little Big Horn. It was filmed in Technicolor and released by Warner Bros..
A rivalry between U.S. Cavalry captains results in Kern Shafter being demoted and disgraced for striking Edward Garnett with a saber. Kern claimed to be defending the honor of his fiancee.
Kern drifts for a while and is attracted to Josephine Russell, a woman he meets before a stagecoach to Fargo. When they reach Bismarck in the Dakota territory, Kern then heads to Fort Abraham Lincoln and enlists in the 7th Cavalry. He is assigned to a company headed by an old friend and former sergeant major, Capt. Myles Moylan, and assigned the rank of sergeant. He is pleased until he learns that Capt. Garnett is there at Fort Lincoln as well, who is the commander of a different company, but is referred to as "top dog" by Moylan.
Kern makes a friend named Donovan, a private. Donovan was formerly a sergeant until he punched a sergeant major. The two of them are assigned to investigate the murder of local miners by Sioux tribesmen, leading to a dangerous encounter. When these risky missions continue, Capt. Moylan begins to realize that Garnett is deliberately putting Kern at risk.
The feud escalates when Garnett makes romantic advances toward Josephine, who is angered by Kern striking him, unaware of their history or Garnett's true character.
The soldiers leave with General George Armstrong Custer to do battle with the Sioux. Garnett deliberately puts Kern, Donovan, and another soldier in danger by sending the three on a scouting mission, claiming there are no Sioux warriors in the vicinity. The three see their company fall back as they see the Sioux in their scouting area. After his friend Donovan is fatally wounded, Kern is able to get back to his command, only to witness Custer and his own command killed in battle. Garnett pursues Kern during a different skirmish with the Sioux, and the two scuffle with each other until Kern gets knocked out by Garnett. When Garnett is about to drop a large rock on Kern, a Sioux warrior fatally shoots Garnett. Capt. Moylan arrives and kills the warrior, and informs Kern he saw the end of the scuffle with Garnett. The two then regroup with their command to fight the Sioux, where Kern gets shot during the skirmish.
Kern and Moylan survive the battle and Kern's reputation and rank of captain are restored thanks to Moylan, and he is now seen by Josephine as the man she wants.
Ray Milland ... Kern Shafter Helena Carter ... Josephine Russell Hugh Marlowe ... Capt. Edward Garnett Forrest Tucker ... Donovan Barton MacLane ... Capt. Myles Moylan George Reeves ... Lt. Smith