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Young Fugitives (1938)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, History | 30 June 1938 (USA)
A young man befriends the last surviving Civil War veteran, intending to rob him of $50,000.



(story "Afraid to Talk"), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Ray Riggins
Dorothea Kent ...
Joel Bentham
Larry J. Blake ...
Silent Sam (as Larry Blake)
Benjie Collins
Mira McKinney ...
Henry Roquemore ...
Mayor Henry Scudder
Tom Ricketts ...
Tom Riggins
Mary Treen ...
William 'Billy' Benedict ...
Jud (as William Benedict)


Old Joel Bentham (Harry Davenport) is awarded $50,000 as the last surviving Civil War veteran in his part of the country. His fellow townsmen in Cleardale are more than willing to help him spend it, but he remembers their neglectful years and decides to spend it as he sees fit. He offers a home to Meg (Dorothea Kent) who has been forced into a hobo life by economic stress and also takes in Ray Riggins (Robert Wilcox), wild young grandson of a war comrade. He promises to make Ray his heir, against the advice of his servant, Benjie Collins (Clem Bevans.) Ray plans, with the aid of some former criminal pals, to rob the old man but changes his mind and is fighting a losing battle against the crooks when a corps of American Legion men, coming to escort Joel to a train, mops up the robbers. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

civil war | servant | hobo | heir | escort | See All (90) »


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Release Date:

30 June 1938 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

G.A.R. Veteran Resists Racketeers In Well-Made Melodrama.
6 June 2007 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

Plumped with incident, the storyline of this Universal Pictures "B" film is punctuated with humour and light romance, the work being a welcome addition to Alpha Video's burgeoning catalogue of re-released and little appreciated American cinema of, in the main, the 1930s and 1940s. As the modestly budgeted work opens, Joel Bentham (Harry Davenport) is seen in his boarding house room, decorated with memorabilia from Joel's four years of service as an officer for the Union Army during the War Between The States, and later at the home of best friend Tom Riggins (Tom Ricketts) whose looming death will leave Bentham as the only remaining Northern veteran of the conflict, and possessor of $50,000 bestowed upon the final remaining survivor. It becomes obvious to Joel that a large segment of the Midwestern township population among whom he lives is yearning for a specimen of his newly acquired wealth, but such will not be the case because the old warrior, along with his servant, curmudgeonly Benjie (Clem Bevans) move away as method of protest against the widespread cupidity surrounding the two men, to the rural home of old comrade Riggins, taking with them a female hobo, Meg (Dorothea Kent), whom they have recently adopted. In compliance with a vow made to his old comrade Tom while at the latter's deathbed, Bentham makes contact with the deceased man's estranged grandson Ray (Robert Wilcox) who resides in Chicago, and invites the young man to dwell with Joel and Benjie, an action smoothly undertaken by Ray, who has determined to his satisfaction the considerable financial potential of relocation to the former Riggins homestead. Being involved with Windy City thugs, Ray is no stranger to illegal activity, as immediately becomes apparent to Meg and Benjie. Yet, Joel's connection with reality is also strong, and it only remains to be seen as to Ray's ability to reform his ways, as well as the degree of salutary influence that the three other principal characters might have upon him. Able veteran director John Rawlins does not belabour a viewer with a surfeit of styles for what is, after all, a slight albeit good looking affair, and he handles his cast of competent players to good effect, while a wide range of clever and creative montage and editing is contributed by Frank Gross. The film is crisply paced, thereby allowing for ongoing character development until its final pages, when financial limitations and shooting schedule restrictions hurry the production along. There is nary an untidy line delivered by Davenport, a superlative actor, and his timing during a monologue delivered early on is representative of his top-echelon work. This is one of the better transfers from Alpha, and a viewer will therefore be pleased to avoid having to suppress disappointment with flawed elements of what in lieu turns out to be a DVD package of excellent visual as well as sound quality.

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