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Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 28 December 1940 (USA)
In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)
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...
...
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Bob Holliday
...
Rader
Gene Reynolds ...
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Cyrus Holliday
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Windy Brody
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Martin
...
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Phil Sheridan
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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:

Where the railroad and civilization ended, the Sante Fe Trail began! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diary of the Santa Fe  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)| (Vitasound)

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 Lt. O'Brien is commemorated in a mural in the Benny Havens Room of the West Point Army Mess. See more »

Goofs

The railroad being built is called the "Santa Fe". The original company was the Atchison and Topeka Railroad Company chartered in 1859. Although one of the original destinations of the railroad, "Santa Fe" was not added to the name of the company until 1863, well after the setting of the movie. Further, contrary to what is shown, initial track laying did not begin until 1868. See more »

Quotes

Kit Carson Holliday: Oh, Jeb, what does pride got to do with guns?
James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: Kit, the two things kind of come together down South. You can't pry them apart. Not even with guns.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: "1854, THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT When the gray cradle of the American Army was only a small garrison with few cadets, but under a brilliant Commandant, named Robert E. Lee it was already building for the defense of a newly-won nation in a new world." See more »

Connections

Featured in Film Breaks: Matinée Idols (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Holliday Wagon Song
(uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome
Lyrics by Jack Scholl
Sung by Alan Hale, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams and others
Played often in the background while on the trail and at the camp
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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