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The Big Trail (1930)

Passed  -  Adventure | Western | Romance  -  1 November 1930 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,136 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 32 critic

Breck Coleman leads hundreds of settlers in covered wagons from the Mississippi River to their destiny out West.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(story)
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Title: The Big Trail (1930)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marguerite Churchill ...
Ruth Cameron
El Brendel ...
Gus
...
Zeke
Tyrone Power Sr. ...
Red Flack (as Tyrone Power)
David Rollins ...
Dave Cameron
Frederick Burton ...
Pa Bascom
Ian Keith ...
Bill Thorpe
Charles Stevens ...
Lopez
Louise Carver ...
Gus's mother-in-law
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Storyline

Breck leads a wagon train of pioneers through Indian attack, storms, deserts, swollen rivers, down cliffs and so on while looking for the murder of a trapper and falling in love with Ruth. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Important Picture Ever Produced


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(35 mm) | (70 mm) | (FMC Library Print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Marion Morrison's first movie role and the producers didn't like his name. They told Raoul Walsh (the director) Morrison needed a new name. Several names were suggested, one of them from Walsh, who had just read about American Revolutionary War general 'Mad' Anthony Wayne. The studio took the hint, added the first name John and the rest was history. See more »

Quotes

Gussie: Zeke, did you hear that terrible crash?
Zeke: Hear it? I seen it! That was your wagon!
Gussie: Was my mother-in-law in it?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'The Big Trail' (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

When It's Harvest Time in Peaceful Valley
(1930) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Robert Martin and Raymond McKee
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I feel like a film archaeologist
5 February 2005 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

I have really nothing to add to all the other comments, save this: To me the film looked like a silent film slowly being adapted to sound. The text boards bringing the story along reinforced that impression I suppose. Along the way the actors were allowed to leave the stilted, theatre-like acting; Marguerite Churchill very much looks like a typical early silent movie heroine at the beginning of the film, but at the end is allowed finer expressions. Gus, the Swede?, reminded me of the comic characters of Shakespeare plays, and Windy sounded to me like an early Donald Duck.

It truly amazed me that it was all filmed outdoors, on location, and even though the dust of all the wagons, horses and cattle obscured the view it must actually have been like that for the real settlers! It also was clear to me that many of those Indians must have been real, and I didn't detect any overt racism towards them. And John Wayne looks so incredibly young! As someone who became a real Wayne fan through the cavalry trilogy by John Ford, and thought that Stage Coach was Wayne's first as a leading star, this film was a revelation. The plot is very simple, again reminding me of a silent film, but the grit is very real indeed! An amazing film to have been made with that technique and under those conditions in 1930!


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