Rugged, clean-cut, square-jawed George Montgomery plays the heroic title character in this atmospheric, large-scale, but low-budget wagon train/cavalry versus Indians western. "Davy Crockett, Indian Scout" generates a modicum of suspense in its mystery about a treacherous informant within the settlers' camp. This scoundrel keeps the Indians abreast of the changing route of the wagon train.
Everything begins with an Indian attack on a wagon train heading for California in 1848, and the U.S. Army amasses evidence that concludes that a spy lies at the bottom of this treachery. The military convenes a hearing about the matter. White settler Mr. Sims (Erik Rolf of "U-Boat Prisoner") insists that their Cherokee scout Red Hawk (Philip Reed of "Unknown Island") is the guilty party. Red Hawk's longtime friend, Davy Crockett (George Montgomery of "Pawnee"), refuses to stand by and let Simms tar and feather Red Hawk with his groundless accusations based purely on racism. Davy reminds them that everything turned sour the moment they entered Kiowa country. At that moment, this western shifts into flashback mode. Red Hawk and he ride away to pow-wow with Kiowa chief Sleeping Fox (Chief Thundercloud of "The Searchers"), but the intractable Fox demands that Davy turn the wagon train around and leave the territory. Davy explains that he cannot accommodate Sleeping Fox, so the Kiowas try without success to kill Red Hawk and Davy. Our heroes make it back to the wagon train by the skin of their teeth. Later,things begin to boil with the arrival of a pretty white schoolmarm, Francis Oatman (Ellen Drew of "Stars in My Crown"), and her deaf-mute driver Ben (Paul Guilfoyle of "The North Star")who looks mighty suspicious. Davy rides out and rescues Oatman and Ben from a war party of Kiowas. Naturally, Davy becomes infatuated with the comely Miss Oatman. This flashback concludes with the introduction of the schoolmarm and Davy's romantic ambitions. The film reverts to the present just long enough for Red Hawk to refute Sims' next accusation about his absence from camp before the Indian attack. Later, in town, Davy sees Ben and believes that the deaf mute was talking with an Indian. Later, Davy tries to expose Ben's masquerade by firing his six-gun behind him in camp without warning. What Davy doesn't know is that Ben knew about Davy's scheme. He caught a glimpse of Davy fidgeting with his gun in a mirror so that he was prepared not to flinch at the sound of the thunderous gunshot.
"Tailspin Tommy" director Lew Landers directs this sprawling black & white western with flair and efficiency. Although he stages several scenes on obvious studio sets as a cost-cutting measure, he doesn't shrink from depicting the big action scenes in the great outdoors during the Indian rampage sequences. These scenes bolster an otherwise pallid western and makes it worth watching, especially if you enjoy horse operas. You can tell from the arid settings that these large-scale scenes were filmed out in the desert far away from a sound stage. Furthermore, the film benefits from the cat and mouse games that the Indians and the settlers indulge in when they have to decide which route to the fort is quicker or safest. The resolution to the mystery is well-handled, though the happy ending outcome is perhaps a mite far-fetched. Incidentally, Montgomery's Davyin the film--is a distant relative from the real Davy. As the civilian tracker for the wagon train, amiable Noah Beery, Jr., who played in the James Garner television series "The Rockford Files," contributes another solid supporting performance. Surprisingly, the hero doesn't get the gal, but the happy ending has the true-hearted lovers getting hitched. it's still a happy ending. All in all, "Davy Crocket, Indian Scout" doesn't hold a candle to anything that John Ford directed, but neither is this black & white United Artists release a bad oater.