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Santa Fe Trail (1940)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,959 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 16 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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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:

America's Pioneer Heroes Come To Life ! 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:

Camino de Santa Fe  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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

Stuart's first assignment after graduating from West Point was the U.S. Mounted Rifles in Texas, followed by the 1st Regiment of the U.S. Cavalry, not the 2nd Cavalry as depicted in the film. See more »

Quotes

James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: What do you mean trailing us halfway across Kansas?
Windy Brody: Well, we don't want you to get lost. You see, I know every wrinkle of this here country like my own face.
James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: Well, you should. It's just as dirty!
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

The Arkansas Traveler
(uncredited)
Written by Sanford Faulkner
Played as background music on the train to Kansas
See more »

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User Reviews

Historical accuracy aside, an exciting and essentially satisfying film
22 June 2001 | by (Clifton, Virginia) – See all my reviews

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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