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Edwin L. Marin
The trio of Belmet, Burch, and O'Meary are leading a wagon train west and Murdock is out to stop them. The settlers fight off his initial Indian attack and reach the mountains. With the wagon train vulnerable as it crosses a river, Murdock has the Indians make a final attack. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1931 Paramount filmed Zane Grey's Fighting Caravans and turned it into an A picture western with Gary Cooper. It was the mentality of the studio bosses back then, why waste good stock footage. So a shorter version of this same story was done three years later with Randolph Scott playing the leading role of Clint Belmet.
Having both versions, I could compare them side by side. Same footage involving the wagon train going west and of the Indian attack climax. Just juxtapose close-ups of the current cast and you got yourself another movie on the cheap.
Since this version is only 56 minutes it was part of Paramount's B unit and played second on double bills.
Like in the first Fighting Caravans, Wagon Wheels has one young scout and two old ones leading the wagon train west. Gail Patrick gets one of her first and only leads. Usually Patrick is cast as the other woman. Maybe her best know role was as Carole Lombard's sister in My Man Godfrey.
Gary Cooper was an A list star, but Randolph Scott was on the way up and would get to not quite the top of the heap soon. He acquits himself well here.
Great stuff for the Saturday matinée crowd.
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