The Klondike gold strike of 1897 inspires fortune-seekers to head for Alaska. Joe and Jim, brothers from South Carolina; Lars, escaping a shrewish wife in Michigan; a poor farmer from Kansas; weathered prospectors from Nevada; and countless others leave San Francisco by ship. The Bulkys head north to open a restaurant, bringing a poor relative, Berna, along to help. On board Berna meets Larry and falls in love. The overland route to Dawson City is hazardous and arduous. Each person must carry their own food, a ton of it. That means traveling 80 miles back and forth to advance one mile, carrying 50 pounds a trip. The Chilkoot Pass is one of the worst sections of the trail. In the spring the trekkers take to the rivers, swollen by melting ice. Whitehorse Rapids proves the last and biggest obstacle to reaching the gold fields. But that's not the end of the hardships. Claim jumping, blizzards, fires, and Berna's honor at stake are to be faced before striking it rich. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
After gold is discovered in Alaska, some lower 48 United States residents decide to go there, and become millionaires. The journey proves arduous, and several die. Attractive Dolores Del Rio (as Berna) and Ralph Forbes (as Larry) are two who hope for riches - they meet aboard ship (the first leg of the journey), and fall in love. Out to stake a claim, Mr. Forbes teams up with "dumb Swede" Karl Dane (as Lars Petersen), grizzled Tully Marshall (as Salvation Jim), and sneaky George Cooper (as Samuel "The Worm" Foote). But, while Forbes is out of the picture, wicked Harry Carey (as Jack Locasto) tries to steals Ms. Del Rio's virtue...
"The Trail of '98" is a top MGM silent, nicely directed by Clarence Brown. The synchronized sound effects are great, especially during the grand fire sequence occurring near the end of the picture. Most of the first hour consists of grueling location scenes (four stuntmen were reportedly killed during the making of the picture). They are definitely worth seeing. The characters are introduced, but left too long with only sketchy story lines - and, what's plotted is woefully ordinary, considering the production values.
****** The Trail of '98 (3/20/28) Clarence Brown ~ Dolores del Rio, Ralph Forbes, Karl Dane, Harry Carey
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