Unjustly booted out of the cavalry, Mike McComb strikes out for Nevada, and deciding never to be used again, ruthlessly works his way up to becoming one of the most powerful silver magnates... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Historical accuracy aside, an exciting and essentially satisfying film
Santa Fe Trail may not be great filmmaking, but it succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish and is generally satisfying viewing. Errol Flynn stars as J.E.B. Stuart, fresh out of West Point and now stationed at Fort Leavenworth in the Kansas territory, the starting point of the westward Santa Fe Trail. This was particularly hazardous country at the time, because abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey) was conducting violent raids along the trail. It quickly becomes the duty of Stuart and his pal Custer (Ronald Reagan) to capture Brown dead or alive, and put and end to his attacks.
There are many exciting sequences in the film, leading up to the final confrontation at Harper's Ferry. There's also a predictable romantic triangle between Flynn, Reagan and Olivia de Havilland. (Guess which one she picks!) The movie deserves credit for taking an objective viewpoint toward Brown, acknowledging that his motives were good even if his methods were not.
As Stuart, Flynn proves to be equally adroit in westerns as in swashbucklers. Reagan and de Havilland fill their less demanding roles with ease, and Alan Hale and Guinn `Big Boy' Williams provide much-needed comic relief. Massey somewhat overplays his hand as Brown, however. He comes off as too sanctimonious, more a cliché villain than a three-dimensional human being.
Apparently, the film is a travesty in terms of historical accuracy. Who cares? Movies are an entertainment medium. Anyone seeking facts alone had better confine their search to encyclopedias. Otherwise, just sit back and be amused.
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