GenreWar, Western ProducerHarry Joe Brown CountryUnited States
Release dateApril 1957 (1957-04) Based onThe Guns of Fort Petticoat
by C. William Harrison WriterWalter Doniger (screenplay), C. William Harrison (story) CastAudie Murphy (Lt. Frank Hewitt), Kathryn Grant (Anne Martin), Kathryn Grant (Cora Melavan), Patricia Tiernan (Stella Leatham (as Patricia Livingston)), Ray Teal (Salt Pork), Ray Teal (Kipper) Similar moviesAudie Murphy appears in The Guns of Fort Petticoat and 40 Guns to Apache Pass
TaglineGOOD WOMEN...BAD WOMEN...BRAWLING WOMEN...BRAVE WOMEN! They were all soldiers in skirts!
The guns of fort petticoat western 1957 audie murphy kathryn grant hope emerson
The Guns of Fort Petticoat is a 1957 Technicolor Western produced by Harry Joe Brown and Audie Murphy for Columbia Pictures. It was based on the 1955 short story "Petticoat Brigade" by Chester William Harrison (1913–1994) that he expanded into a novelization for the film's release. It was directed by George Marshall and filmed at the Iverson Movie Ranch and at Old Tucson. The working title of the film was Petticoat Brigade; screenwriter and television director Walter Doniger was originally set to have directed the film. The fictional story tells the tale of an Army deserter training a disparate group of women to be Indian fighters climaxing in a Battle of the Alamo type action.
In 1864, during the American Civil War, Texan Lt. Frank Hewitt (Audie Murphy) is serving with the U.S. Cavalry under Colonel John Chivington. On patrol, Hewitt meets a group of Indians who are unarmed and returning to the Sand Creek reservation which they were not supposed to leave. While being briefed by Hewitt, the colonel orders the attack known to history as the Sand Creek Massacre. Hewitt not only disagrees with the punishment of the Indians, but realizes they will use the attack as an excuse to unite and spread terror throughout the Southwest, including his own hometown in Texas which has been emptied of the majority of its men who are fighting for the Confederacy. Colonel Chivington sees Indian attacks on Texas as a bonus to create havoc in the Confederacy. Violently objecting, Hewitt is placed under arrest and confined to quarters.
Hewitt deserts to warn the Texans but is hated and ignored as a traitor by his now Confederate former neighbors, who despise him for serving with the Union. No one believes him until he brings home the dead body of a woman murdered by Comanches who have joined the uprising. Hewitt organizes a brigade of women training them in marksmanship and combat tactics. Armed and given military ranks, Hewitt and the women seize the day and hold on to the only safety they have in an abandoned mission (The Guns of Fort Petticoat). Hewitt, the "blue belly traitor", and the petticoat brigade face desertion from the only remaining man and fight off scavengers and Comanches as they struggle to build trust and work together during the ensuing attacks. As the final gun fight is over, Hewitt and his greatest female critic fall in star-crossed-love left over from childhood memories. But Hewitt cannot reciprocate because as an honorable soldier he must return to his post at Sand Creek and face charges for desertion. Col. Chivington's commanding general happened to enter the trial room in the final hour as Hewitt is being renounced as a deserter and a liar about a most fantastic story of helping to rescue the women in Texas and training them to fight off Comanches. As the guilty sentence and execution is about to be pronounced, the female confederates return the favor marching armed into the trial to stop the proceeding. The commanding general, in amorous good will, orders a surrender to the armed ladies who have saved the day and proved Hewitt's truthfulness. Hewitt's testimony snares Col. Chivington (who is relieved of command and ordered held for trial) and his hopes in his new-found Confederate love are restored.
Audie Murphy as Lt. Frank Hewitt
Kathryn Grant as Anne Martin
Hope Emerson as Hannah Lacey
Jeff Donnell as Mary Wheller
Jeanette Nolan as Cora Melavan
Sean McClory as Emmett Kettle
Ernestine Wade as Hetty
Peggy Maley as Lucy Conover
Isobel Elsom as Mrs. Charlotte Ogden
Patricia Tiernan as Stella Leatham
Kim Charney as Bax Leatham
Ray Teal as Salt Pork
Nestor Paiva as Tortilla
James Griffith as Kipper
John Dierkes as Storekeeper
Ainslie Pryor as Colonel John Chivington (uncredited)
Murphy produced the movie through Brown-Murphy Pictures, which he had set up with producer Harry Joe Brown. On November 9, 1955, Murphy signed a contract with Brown-Murphy Pictures to appear in two films, of which this was the first. Brown wanted Murphy to make another movie; Murphy, who had the right to select stories, submitted proposals to appear in adaptations of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen and The Idiot by Dostoevski. Brown accused Murphy of trying to get out of his contract and sued him for $1 million.
"It doesn't matter where a man was born. He fights for what he thinks is right." - Lt. Hewitt