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Other parts of her character were eliminated, such as the drinking and raucous behavior that occasionally landed her in jail in real life, and this is a shame, because we might have learned more about Calamity Jane if she had been allowed to be more than just Wild Bill Hickok’s girlfriend. Wild Bill Hickok, played by Gary Cooper, helps his pal Buffalo Bill Cody, played by James Ellison (who we’ll meet up farther down the trail in “The Texan and Calamity Jane” as her new prospective boyfriend), deal with a Cheyenne uprising and the scoundrels who sold them repeating rifles. He wants the frontier to be made safe for the plow.
Not that De Mille’s Calamity Jane was fooling audiences at the time. Nugent charges De Mille with “taking history by the tail and throwing it out the window." I particularly like the line “ you frontier authorities will probably be confounded, and will confound Paramount for telling you the sweetest story ever told about Wild Bill and Calamity Jane..changes that time and Jean Arthur have wrought! Then he excuses himself from the meeting because he’s going to Ford's Theater.
Ellison must leave his wife and their very dusty cabin.
Jean shows up to take her in hand, and look out for her.
No law west of Hay City, and no God west of Carson City.” General George Armstrong Custer gets a cameo.
He's going after a band of Cheyenne warriors, and Ellison and Cooper are recruited as scouts.
She seemed perfectly at ease with what she's doing and this is the chief accomplishment in Jean Arthur's work. Mc Laird quotes from a play written by Thomas Newson in 1878, only a couple of years after the incident in 1876 when Wild Bill Hickok was shot by Jack Mc Call (I know this is a movie spoiler, but it's also history).We get a bigger impression of his smarmy toady Jack Mc Call, played by reliable smarmy guy Porter Hall. When we meet Wild Bill he is at the river landing in St. He has just been discharged from the Army, and he runs into his old pal and fellow scout Buffalo Bill Cody and Cody’s new bride played by 19-year-old Helen Burgess (whose career was sadly cut short when she died of pneumonia the following year). Not standing out in the crowd, only one of the Western menagerie.De Mille gives us one of his patented scenes of history that is a feast for the eyes. She is hitching a team of horses to her stagecoach.We covered what happened at the theater that night in this previous post on “Prince of Players” (1955).Before we get too far, we might as well just forget picking out historical inaccuracies. Suffice it to say in any movie about Calamity Jane, approach it as entertainment and not as a documentary on her life. After Abe’s left the room some unscrupulous arms manufacturers conspire to sell rifles to the Indians because with the Civil War winding down, they are not going to make such huge profit anymore.