Distant Drums is a 1951 American "Florida Western" film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Gary Cooper. It is set during the Second Seminole War in the 1840s, with Cooper playing an Army captain who destroys a fort held by the Spanish gunrunners then retreats into the Everglades while under chase.
The actual location of the fort in the film was the historic Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida, where most of the filming took place.
In 1840, U.S. Army General Zachary Taylor sends out naval Lieutenant Tufts and scout Monk to a remote Florida island home, where the reclusive Captain Quincy Wyatt lives with a 5-year-old son.
The soldiers' mission is to destroy an old Spanish fort used by gunrunners, and rescue men and women taken prisoner by Seminole warriors. One of them, Judy Beckett, develops a romantic attraction to Capt. Wyatt as they flee the Natives into the Everglades.
Most of the other Army troops are massacred after Wyatt and Tufts separate from them to construct canoes. Back at his home, Wyatt is distraught to find that his son is gone. He has an underwater fight to the death with Seminole chief Ocala, then is relieved to learn that his boy is safe.
- Gary Cooper as Captain Quincy Wyatt
- Richard Webb as Lieutenant Tufts
- Mari Aldon as Judy Beckett
- Arthur Hunnicutt as Monk
- Carl Harbaugh as Duprez
- Ray Teal as Private Mohair
- Robert Barrat as General Zachary Taylor
- Larry Carper as Chief Ocala (uncredited)