The Big Picture

  • John Ford's groundbreaking film, Sergeant Rutledge, was the first major studio Western to cast a Black actor in the lead role, breaking the stereotype of Black people as servants or slaves.
  • While the film addressed racism faced by Black Americans, it failed to capture the true magnitude of racial tensions and instead placed the burden of racism solely on the prosecutor.
  • Despite his earlier controversial portrayals of people of color, John Ford's career evolved to include more nuanced representations, and he dedicated his last film to Indigenous Americans.