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Santa Fe Trail (1940)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,883 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 15 critic

The story of Jeb Stuart, his romance with Kit Carson Holliday, friendship with George Custer and battles against John Brown in the days leading up to the outbreak of the American Civil War.

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(original screenplay)
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Title: Santa Fe Trail (1940)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)
...
...
...
Tex Bell
William Lundigan ...
Bob Holliday
...
Rader
Gene Reynolds ...
Henry O'Neill ...
Cyrus Holliday
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ...
Windy Brody
Alan Baxter ...
...
Martin
Moroni Olsen ...
David Bruce ...
Phil Sheridan
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Barber Doyle
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Storyline

The story of Jeb Stuart, his romance with Kit Carson Holliday, friendship with George Custer and battles against John Brown in the days leading up to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A thousand miles of danger, a thousand thrills a mile! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Santa Fe Trail  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song, "Benny Havens, Oh!" (sung by the soldiers at the farewell party at Fort Leavenworth) is a song from West Point. Benny Havens ran a public house near by West Point Military Academy. The writing of the song in his establishment by a Lieutenant O'Brien is commemorated in a mural in the Benny Havens Room of the West Point Army Mess. See more »

Goofs

At the Harper's Ferry battle the troops are shown carrying the Model 1873 (Trapdoor) Carbine, a breech loading weapon which is the standard Hollywood weapon for all U.S. cavalry in the 19th century. The correct weapon would have been the M1854 Rifled Carbine, a muzzle loading weapon. It may also be noted that cavalry was not present at the take over of the Harper's Ferry Arsenal by John Brown. See more »

Quotes

Kit Carson Holliday: Jeb, I'm frightened. That boy is crippled for life. And that man on the train, he died for a principle. A man killed for a principle. One of them is wrong, but which one?
James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: Who knows the answer to that, Kit. Everybody in America is trying to decide.
Kit Carson Holliday: Yes, by words from the east, and by guns from the west. But one day, the words will turn into guns.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Errol Flynn (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Along the Santa Fe Trail
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Will Grosz
Played when Jeb and George say goodbye to Kit and when Jeb first kisses her
Waltz version played at the party in Washington
Played at the wedding and during the end credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A powerful movie too interested in the truth to take sides.
27 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Santa Fe Trail" is like the doubloon nailed to the mainmast in the novel "Moby Dick": how you interpret it depends on your point of view. Some viewers will see it as a tribute to the chivalrous values of the pre-civil war military establishment, which was dominated by southern aristocrats like General Robert E. Lee, while others may see it mainly as the tragic saga of the anti-slavery martyrs of Harper's Ferry, whose self-sacrifice brought on the war to free the slaves. Cavalry officer Jeb Stuart seems either gallant and nobly courageous, or like a pompous martinet, while abolitionist John Brown is a violence loving madman, or one of the most dedicated and selfless heroes of all time. This exciting, action-packed movie refuses to take sides but permits the viewer to make his own decisions about the important themes presented.

What about its use of history, though, which has vexed so many critics? Like any great mythopoeic work, "Santa Fe Trail" should be judged not as historical record but as a legend or myth that tells universal truths. Historicism, which in movie criticism is the theory that all works should be judged by the standard of recorded history, has not enjoyed much favor among the most respected experts on the subject of art. Were this not so, the "Iliad," "Macbeth" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" would long ago have been rejected as false history, because not one of them is faithful to many of the known facts deemed so important by historicist critics.

Judged on its own terms and from the perspective of facts that have proved true not just in one place and time but in many places and in many periods of history, then "Santa Fe Trail" is a classic in the best sense, and thrilling entertainment too. Like all war movies that are any good, it is a powerful anti-war movie.


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