In Kentucky just after the Civil War, the Hayden-Colby feud leads to Jed Colby being sent to prison for 15 years for murder. The Haydens head for Nevada and when Colby gets out of prison he heads there also seeking revenge. The head of the Hayden family tries to avoid more killing but the inevitable showdown has to occur, complicated by Lynn Hayden and Ellen Colby's plans to marry.
Jack La Rue
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 <email@example.com>
The Oregon Trail was accessible only by foot or horseback in its earliest days (1811-1840). The first wagon train started out in 1836 when the road was improved to accommodate wagons from Independence Missouri to Fort Hill, Idaho. Each year improvements like ferry crossings were added. The eastern portion of the Trail also served as the beginning of other Weestern routes, the California Trail, the Bozeman Rail, and the Morman Trail before they broke off into different directions. During its peak years (1846-1869) 400,000 settlers, pioneers, trappers, miners, etc. took advantage of the highway. When the Transcontinental Railroad opened in 1869, use of the trail went into decline. See more »
Although he refers to them as trappers. Jim makes reference to the cannibalism of the Donner "Party," but that didn't occur until 1847, not 1845. See more »
A simple straight-forward old western starring Randolph Scott.
The print for this old western is only fair and unfortunately it does not have any sort of captioning---either closed captioning or DVD captions.
I chose to watch this film because it starred Randolph Scott--and I never turn down a chance to see another one of his westerns. Compared to the average film in the genre, Scott's always seem a bit better--much of it due to Scott's seemingly effortless acting. Even here, early in his career, his gentle yet rugged persona is intact--and quite enjoyable in this rather short B-movie. Another reason, it turned out, to see it was young Billy Lee--one of the cutest child actors I can recall--and not in a cloying and saccharine manner.
Not surprisingly considering the title, "Wagon Wheels" is about a wagon train that is heading to Oregon but must deal with the elements as well as American-Indians that are being stirred up by a jerky half-Indian (Murdock). Scott and his two very scruffy looking friends are in charge of getting these settlers to their destination.
As for the story, it's very straight-forward---without a lot of the sentiment and clichés you'd normally find in a 30s B-movie. As a result, the film does seem a tad rushed but is otherwise pretty watchable.
By the way, for historical purists out there, while the story is supposed to be set around 1850, the guns are clearly newer--with the settlers using what appear to be cartridges--which were not readily available at that time in history. Also, while popular in films, American-Indians did NOT make a habit of attacking wagon trains--in fact, it was a very, very rare occurrence.
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