Oregon Trail (1945)

Passed  |   |  Western  |  14 July 1945 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 73 users  
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Escaping the law, Jim Parker arrives in a town that is controlled by Higgins and his crony Judge. When he stands up to Higgins he is made Sheriff only to be shot in the back, After ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Frank Jaquet ...
John Merton ...
Mary Carr ...
Si Jenks ...
Andy Kline (as Si 'Rawhide' Jenks)
Steve Winston ...
Lee Shumway ...
Earle Hodgins ...
Tom London ...


Escaping the law, Jim Parker arrives in a town that is controlled by Higgins and his crony Judge. When he stands up to Higgins he is made Sheriff only to be shot in the back, After recovering he returns to get the man that shot him. When the gang attacks, he fights back from the newspaper office. When a stray bullet nicks the printing press plate he sees that it is solid gold and its not long before the masquerades on both sides of the law are revealed. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

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Release Date:

14 July 1945 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
[the conductor reads about a train robbery in Jim's newspaper]
Train conductor: I'm glad it didn't happen on my run. That Dawson gang is plenty tough.
Jim Parker: So I've heard!
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User Reviews

Sunset Carson as Elmer Smith - One of His Best
30 October 2005 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

This is one of the best Sunset Carson oaters from his heyday in the mid-1940's. Sunset was at the top of his form when his hedonistic off screen lifestyle caught up with him. Too bad, because as this movie indicates, he showed great promise. Since his early days with Smiley Burnette, Sunset had shown a flair for comedy. Gradually the producers pulled him away from the humor until he became all serious. When "Oregon Trail" was made, Sunset was still using humor from time to time. His sparring comic partner this go around is not Si Jenks who provides some of the sight humor but Peggy Stewart who is also Sunset's love interest. Peggy gives him the unlikely moniker Elmer Smith when she thinks he is a notorious outlaw running from a railroad detective.

The scrip is based on a novel by pulp fiction writer Frank Gruber. Maybe that's why it is above average for a B western. This time the identity of the boss outlaw is truly hidden from the audience until the end, though there are a few clues along the way. There are even twists and turns concerning who Sunset Carson really is. So this film has a few mysterious elements often missing from the B western. But don't be fooled by the good script, there is still plenty of action. One of the funniest and toughest characters in the flick is Granny Layton played with exuberance by Mary Carr. I won't give away her part, but be sure and watch what she does near the end of the film. It's a joy to behold.

The central theme of the movie has Sunset taking back control of a town from a gang of outlaws ostensibly headed by Dalt Higgins (John Merton), who resembles William Conrad, and a corrupt drunken judge played by character actor Earle Hodgins. Where the title "Oregon Trail" came from is anyone's guess. There is nothing about Oregon or the Oregon Trail even mentioned in the film. Maybe the novel from which the movie is taken has something to do with the Oregon Trail. No matter. This is still an entertaining, action-filled Saturday matinée western.

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