IMDb > Santa Fe Trail (1940)
Santa Fe Trail
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Santa Fe Trail (1940) More at IMDbPro »

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Santa Fe Trail -- 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.
Santa Fe Trail -- Trailer for this western
Santa Fe Trail -- 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.


User Rating:
6.3/10   2,342 votes »
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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert Buckner (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Santa Fe Trail on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 December 1940 (USA) See more »
America's Pioneer Heroes Come To Life ! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
A powerful movie too interested in the truth to take sides. See more (72 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Errol Flynn ... Jeb Stuart

Olivia de Havilland ... 'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)

Raymond Massey ... John Brown

Ronald Reagan ... George Custer

Alan Hale ... Tex Bell

William Lundigan ... Bob Holliday

Van Heflin ... Rader
Gene Reynolds ... Jason Brown

Henry O'Neill ... Cyrus Holliday

Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Windy Brody

Alan Baxter ... Oliver Brown

John Litel ... Martin

Moroni Olsen ... Robert E. Lee

David Bruce ... Phil Sheridan
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Barber Doyle
Charles D. Brown ... Major Sumner

Joe Sawyer ... Kitzmiller

Frank Wilcox ... James Longstreet

Ward Bond ... Townley

Russell Simpson ... Shubel Morgan

Charles Middleton ... Gentry (as Charles Middletown)

Erville Alderson ... Jefferson Davis
Spencer Charters ... Conductor

Susan Peters ... Charlotte (as Suzanne Carnahan)
William Marshall ... George Pickett
George Haywood ... John Hood
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cliff Clark ... Instructor (scenes deleted)

Edmund Cobb ... Guard (scenes deleted)

Louis Jean Heydt ... Farmer (scenes deleted)

William Hopper ... Officer (scenes deleted)

Edward Peil Sr. ... Guard (scenes deleted)

Addison Richards ... Minister (scenes deleted)

Harry Strang ... Sergeant (scenes deleted)
Emmett Vogan ... Lieutenant (scenes deleted)

Arthur Aylesworth ... Abolitionist at Russell's House (uncredited)

Roy Barcroft ... Engineer (uncredited)

Trevor Bardette ... Agitator in Palmyra (uncredited)

Edward Biby ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Al Bridge ... Palmyra Townsman (uncredited)
Jess Lee Brooks ... Doorman at Washington Party (uncredited)

Georgia Caine ... Officer's Wife at Party (uncredited)
Lucia Carroll ... Girl at Wedding (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Armory Guard (uncredited)

Lane Chandler ... Adjutant (uncredited)
Bud Cokes ... Cadet (uncredited)

Mildred Coles ... Girl at Wedding (uncredited)

Harry Cording ... Workman in Delaware Crossing (uncredited)

Joseph Crehan ... Officer at Washington Party (uncredited)

Ken Curtis ... Oficer singung at celebration (uncredited)
Jack Deery ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Neal Dodd ... Preacher at Wedding (uncredited)

Jim Farley ... Brewer, Armory Hostage (uncredited)
Mildred Gover ... Mammy (uncredited)

Mitzi Green ... Girl at Wedding (uncredited)

Creighton Hale ... Telegraph Operator (uncredited)

Henry Hall ... Abolitionist at Russell's House (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Theresa Harris ... Maid (uncredited)

Edward Hearn ... Abolitionist in Armory (uncredited)

Russell Hicks ... Dr. J. Boyce Russell (uncredited)

Selmer Jackson ... Officer Reading Names of Graduates (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Western Boy (uncredited)
Victor Kilian ... Dispatch Rider (uncredited)
Richard Kipling ... Army Doctor Attending Jason (uncredited)

Wilfred Lucas ... Weiner (uncredited)

Eric Mayne ... Train Passenger (uncredited)

Frank Mayo ... Engineer (uncredited)

Tom McGuire ... Man with Surveyor (uncredited)

Lafe McKee ... Minister (uncredited)
Robert McKenzie ... Kansas Townsman (uncredited)
Mira McKinney ... Survivor at Delaware Crossing (uncredited)
John Meyer ... Workman (uncredited)

Frank Mills ... Train Passenger (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Extra in Washington Party (uncredited)

Jack Mower ... Surveyor (uncredited)

Nestor Paiva ... Abolitionist Noticing Army Horse Brand (uncredited)
Bernice Pilot ... Hannah (uncredited)
Alex Proper ... Townsman (uncredited)
Clinton Rosemond ... Black Man on Train (uncredited)
Napoleon Simpson ... Samson (uncredited)
Walter Soderling ... Abolitionist at Russell's House (uncredited)
Grace Stafford ... Farmer's Wife (uncredited)
Count Stefenelli ... Train Passenger (uncredited)
Libby Taylor ... Black Woman (uncredited)
Ernestine Wade ... Black Woman (uncredited)

Eddy Waller ... Workman (uncredited)

Blackie Whiteford ... Henchman (uncredited)
Ernest Whitman ... Black Man in Barn (uncredited)

Maris Wrixon ... Girl at Wedding (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Curtiz 
Writing credits
Robert Buckner (original screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Fellows .... associate producer
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
Cinematography by
Sol Polito (director of photography)
Film Editing by
George Amy (film editor)
Art Direction by
Errol Flynn (art direction)
John Hughes 
Costume Design by
Milo Anderson 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jack L. Warner .... in charge of production
Frank Mattison .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack Sullivan .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Robert B. Lee .... sound
Special Effects by
Byron Haskin .... special effects
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H.F. Koenekamp)
Iron Eyes Cody .... stunts (uncredited)
John Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Don Turner .... stunts (uncredited)
Buster Wiles .... stunt double: Van Heflin (uncredited)
Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestral arrangements
Max Steiner .... conductor (uncredited)
Other crew
Jo Graham .... dialogue director
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.) (A Warner Bros.-First National Picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
110 min | West Germany:93 min (cut version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System) | Mono (Vitasound)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Iceland:12 | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (re-rating) (1986) | USA:Not Rated (DVD rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #6559) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (nf)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Raymond Massey starred as John Brown again in Seven Angry Men (1955), the main story of which is also the trial and hanging of the abolitionist.See more »
Factual errors: The final battle takes place in a building called "The Arsenal". The Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry was actually a complex of manufacturing, storage, and office buildings. During the fighting, John Brown's force finally took refuge in the Fire House, one of the smallest of the buildings on the Armory grounds. The Fire House was built of brick but had three large wooden doors through which the firefighting equipment could move.See more »
John Brown:I have given you fair warning. You can keep your heads or lose 'em as you wish.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Rocky Mountain (1950)See more »
The Holliday Wagon SongSee more »


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37 out of 59 people found the following review useful.
A powerful movie too interested in the truth to take sides., 27 March 2005
Author: mbuchwal from United States

"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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