Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and ... See full summary »
Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and indian attack. To complicate matters further, a love triangle develops, as pretty Molly must chose between Sam, a brute, and Will, the dashing captain of the other caravan. Can Will overcome the skeleton in his closet and win Molly's heart? Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
The first great western epic, The Covered Wagon established many of the cliches that appear in many subsequent westerns, both "A" and "B" features alike.
Here for the first time, we have the wagon train of eastern settlers trekking west in search of a new land and a new start. We have the circling of the wagons in preparation for the Indian attack, the attack itself and the ride to the rescue of the besieged wagons.
Cruze captures the feel of what a real wagon train journey must have been like. The long lines of slow moving covered wagons, the dusty trails, life and death situations on the prairie, as well as the celebrations around the campfire.
The sub-plot of boy-girl-villain is "B" western calibre, however, the players carry it of admirably. J. Warren Kerrigan as the hero is adequate but not memorable. The lovely Lois Wilson as the heroine and a young Alan Hale as the villain are much better. It is curious that the Cruze portrayed legendary mountain man Jim Bridger (Tully Marshall) as an absent-minded, liquor swilling comedy relief.
The ending is strictly Hollywood. Boy gets girl of course and the villain is defeated, but I thought that the final shoot-out left a little to be desired.
Despite its apparent faults, The Covered Wagon remains today as powerful a film as it must have been in 1923.
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