Bugles in the Afternoon

  • U
  • Roy Rowland (1952)
  • US
  • 84 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

This disappointing Warner Bros western adapted from an excellent novel by Ernest Haycox (who also wrote Stagecoach's source story) is seriously hampered by poor casting. The urbane Ray Milland looks uncomfortable out west, and here fails to convince as a disgraced coward, looking generally peeved rather than seething with inner rage. He's not helped by a sub-par supporting cast and a totally inadequate leading lady (in Helena Carter), a deficiency not unusual in Warners' westerns of the 1950s. Nevertheless, the exterior Technicolor location photography is impressive, and the action scenes, including the Battle of the Little Bighorn, well staged within obvious budgetary limitations. Dmitri Tiomkin's score is nice, too.

Plot Summary

Civil War western starring Ray Milland. Stripped of his rank, Kern Shafter quits the 7th Cavalry and re-enlists as a private at Fort Lincoln - a remote outpost in the heart of Sioux territory.

Cast and crew


Kern Shafter
Ray Milland
Josephine Russell
Helena Carter
Captain Edward Garnett
Hugh Marlowe
Private Donovan
Forrest Tucker
Captain Myles Moylan
Barton MacLane
Lieutenant Smith
George Reeves
Sergeant Hines
James Millican
Gertrude Michael
Bannack Bill
Stuart Randall
Private Tinney
William "Bill" Phillips
General G A Custer
Sheb Wooley
Private McDermott
John Pickard


Roy Rowland

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros Pictures Ltd