Alternate History

The Last Stand on the Plains (Napoleon's World)

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The Last Stand on the Plains is a 1957 war film starring Jack Kennedy, Jack Jones, George Fish and Martin Micks, set in 1950 during the Battle of Beerwolde. The film follows three young Marines in the 5th Battalion, led by Captain Henry Mayhew (Kennedy), in the Boer Republic during the Boer-American War, and their triumphant last stand at Beerwolde to hold off Boer troops as the rest of the American troops retreat. It was a major commercial and critical success and is cited as a textbook example of late-1950's "patriot films," a notoriously jingoistic genre of films trumpeting American military success and heroes.

While well-received in its day, many modern critics interpret the film as a blatant attempt to portray the Boers as evil, who at the time were expelling millions of black Africans from their territory in what is today regarded as a genocide, and to turn public opinion against the Boers. One critic went so far as to say, "The Last Stand on the Plains was nothing less than a Hollywood-stamped propaganda piece advocating the return of American soldiers to the Boer Republic to finish what we started."

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