In Pursuit of Honor
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In a desperate race against time, five cavalry officers fight for honor and risk heir lives to save four hundred horses destined for destruction. As the earth pounding power of new tank forces takes over the army, the men and horses of the US cavalry have become an expensive inconvenience. Colonel Stuart's (Rod Steiger) replacement has been ordered to execute the five hundred horses under his command. Lt. Marshall Buxton (Craig Shegger) and Sgt. John Libby (Don Johnson) are ordered to escort them to slaughter, but rebel in horror after witnessing the massacre of the first hundred. Buxton, Libby and their men escape with the surviving four hundred, facing at best court martial, at worst, death at the hand of their fellow officers. Colonel Stuart's daughter (Gabrielle Anwar) is a young journalist, determined to tell the story to the world, but time is running out. In their flight across the country, the horses are beginning to drop from exhaustion and the Army is gaining on them. As Buxton and Libby face a final assault at the Canadian border, they must, in the end, be prepared to die for what they believe.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
While that infamous moment in American military history is the prologue for "In Pursuit of Honor," Dennis Lynton Clark's script tells what happened in 1935 when MacArthur changed the cavalry from men on horseback to men in tanks and ordered the destruction of hundreds of horses. The decision does not sit well with old Sergeant John Libbey (Don Johnson) and his other NCO's, but it is young Lt. Marshall Buxton (Craig Sheffer) who decides after watching the infantry gun down a hundred horses that they are not going to let the same thing be done to any more of the creatures. For these men it is a question of honor and they think when their service is no longer required horses should be treated the same way as former soldiers. Of course, the film's prologue amply proves that MacArthur (James Sikking) is willing to gun down old soldiers along with old horses.
Libbey is certainly an old soldier at home in the saddle and Buxton is young, a West Point graduate, but they have in common a tendency to be insubordinate when it comes to matters of honor. Libbey refused to ride down the women and children of the Bonus Army just because ordered to do so by Colonel John Hardesty (Bob Gunton), who is the officer MacArthur sends west to do the changeover.Read more ›
So, moviegoer, enjoy a good action tale, but until or unless HBO decides to divulge the actual source(s)of this allged "true story", don't believe a line or scene of it as regards the slaughter and rescue of the horses it portrays.
As for the film itself, it is very entertaining and all members of the cast do a nice job with it. I am giving it a 4 star rating for its entertainment value alone; a NO STAR rating for its apparently false claim of being "based on a true story." Good cast, nice locations, and a depiction of the "brown shoe" army that existed between the World Wars not often depicted on the screen make it enjoyable to watch.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was how admirably well Don Johnson carried off the roll of a battle hardened old boot. The director and writer "hollywoodized" some events and created a film which brought tears to this old sergeant's eyes. The depiction of General MacArthur is appropo; but the body of the movie is the plight of a small contingency of men against tall odds and direct orders.
Would this country ever destroy cavalry horses? We left behind "legions" of finely trained military dogs (K-9's) in Vietnam where a staple is canine flesh. The two main excuses I was told in the field were: budget cuts and the fear of spreading heartworms. There were innumerable instances which defied commonsense and ethics during the Vietnam War, errr, Conflict.
Reality check time. The era depicted in this film is a time of the United States history which has been clouded by agenda and spin. There were marches in the streets, payrolls were cut, veteran benefits were cut, pensions were cut, veterans were clubbed, millions were suffering for lack of food and housing (tons of federally stored milk, butter, and cheese were destroyed instead of being distributed to the needy), as told to me by my Grandfather who served as cavalry blacksmith during and after World War I. He later crosstrained into cooks. Either way, he said, there was no getting away from horses....:p
"Unfortunately, this movie is yet another example of "Hollywood history." As far as we have been able to determine, nothing even remotely like this ever took place. The flaws in this movie, from a historical standpoint, are almost too numerous to list. The 12th Cavalry was not one of the regiments that was initially mechanized. And when the regiments were dismounted, their horses were turned in to the Remount Service, a branch of the Quartermaster Corps, where they were re-issued to other units. These remount depots were large operations, capable of handling up to 6,000 horses. They were not locations where you would send cast-off sergeants or troublesome lieutenants. As we understand it from an interview with the writer of the screenplay, the entire story is based on a tale he was told by three old sergeants when he was a boy, and even he admitted that the machine-gunning of the horses was a bit of Hollywood color added to the story. We have done research into the regiments, mechanization, even the officers mentioned and given "biographies" at the end of the movie. Nothing has been unearthed to confirm that any of the events shown in the film ever took place. In fact, all available evidence points in just the opposite direction. Both the U.S. Cavalry Association and the MacArthur Foundation wrote to HBO when this movie first came out, requesting that in light of the facts they remove the "based on a true story" statement from the movie. They never even answered our letters. So, while "In Pursuit of Honor" might be a good motion picture, it is certainly not good history. It is truly a shame that it is still being presented as such.
William Van Horn Researcher, USCMRL
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In Pursuit of Honor is a great movie. I would give it four stars. I haven't had a chance to read the two volumes about General Pershing.Published 1 month ago by Ed Manners
As retired military people, it was an interesting bit of history to know about. It kept one riveted throughout. Wonderful cast.Published 1 month ago by Ollie
A good values over practicality do the right thing true storyPublished 2 months ago by Leroy S Marion
Loved the story, the acting, the cinematography, the scenery, and the horses! I don't care if it wasn't really a completely true to life story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robin