Broken Arrow (1950) is often held up as the first postwar film to sympathetically portray Native Americans. It came out within weeks of Jimmy Stewart’s other 1950 Western, Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73.
The Oscar-nominated screenplay, based on the novel Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold, is credited to Michael Blankfort — who was actually serving as a front for the blacklisted Albert Maltz, one of the Hollywood Ten. (The Writers Guild has since corrected the credits for these blacklisted writers.)
But Broken Arrow and its writer(s) have another distinction. The “Apache Wedding Prayer” recited in the film must’ve really resonated with people, because it’s been used in actual weddings over the years. Do these happy couples believe they’re adding a beautiful Native American tradition into their nuptials? Or do they realize they’re quoting an old cowboy movie written by a suspected Commie?
Either way, it’s a great Western. And a very nice set of vows. Here they are:
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
You know, I can completely understand why someone would want to incorporate that into their ceremony.