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The Covered Wagon (1923)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 307 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

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 »

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Title: The Covered Wagon (1923)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
J. Warren Kerrigan ...
...
...
Ernest Torrence ...
William Jackson
...
Ethel Wales ...
Mrs. Wingate
Charles Ogle ...
Jesse Wingate
Guy Oliver ...
Johnny Fox ...
Jed Wingate
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Cruze ...
Indian (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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 <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The cowards never started: - The weak died on the way. See more »


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caravana Gloriosa  »

Box Office

Budget:

$782,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although there are scenes that show huge buffalo herds with what looks like thousands of animals, large buffalo herds didn't exist at the time this film was made (1923). The buffalo had been hunted almost to extinction during the late 19th century, with millions of them being slaughtered, and its numbers hadn't yet increased enough to comprise large herds. Cameraman Karl Brown used small lead castings of various sizes of buffalo, placed the larger ones toward the camera and used diminishing sizes in the background for depth. All the castings were mounted on a series of moving chains, those in the rear moving very slowly while the rows of chains moved increasingly faster as they neared the foreground. The castings were hinged so that they moved with an undulating motion, which made them appear to be actual buffalo running. The chains were placed out of view and the mechanical buffalo were placed in front of a painted background containing distant buffalo. The result was a scene of "thousands" of buffalo, when in reality most of them were basically statues. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Circle the Wagons
23 September 1999 | by (Gloucester, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

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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