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California (1947)

Passed | | Romance, Western | 21 February 1947 (USA)
2:10 | Trailer

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Epic account of how California became a state, featuring a wagon train, the Gold Rush, a wicked saloon queen, and an evil profiteer.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »



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Complete credited cast:
Col. Stuart
Wagon Woman


"Wicked" Lily Bishop joins a wagon train to California, led by Michael Fabian and Johnnny Trumbo, but news of the Gold Rush scatters the train. When Johnny and Michael finally arrive, Lily is rich from her saloon and storekeeper (former slaver) Pharaoh Coffin is bleeding the miners dry. But worse troubles are ahead: California is inching toward statehood, and certain people want to make it their private empire. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No town would have her! No man could tame her! See more »


Romance | Western


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 February 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kalifornia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Feb. 1958, a reissue of this film was in wide release by Paramount on a double bill with another western, Desert Fury (1947). See more »


A number of the pistols used by characters appear to be cartridge revolvers, rather than cap-and-ball. See more »


Lily Bishop: He was a gambler. He played the Mississippi boats. He always used to say, 'It's your cheat who's most afraid of being cheated.' You better stay on your horse after this, Trumbo. It makes you look more important than you really are. Another thing my father told me: 'Always leave a man burying money.'
See more »


Music by Earl Robinson
Lyrics E.Y. Harburg
Sung by chorus
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User Reviews

Handsome Production Values, Disappointing Results
25 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

Army deserter Ray Milland leads a wagon train, including woman-of-easy-virtue Barbara Stanwyck, on its way to California, only to find the gold rush in full effect and the territory overrun by scoundrels, like megalomaniac slave-ship captain Barry Fitzgerald.

The excellent photography, with equally excellent use of Technicolor, good direction by John Farrow, and Milland's brooding can't quite overcome the overly talky script, the datedness of the songs, and the fact that Stanwyck's character is quite unappealing most of the time.

However, for those of us who grew up watching Ray Milland playing old curmudgeons in various B-movies of the sixties, seventies, and early eighties, it's interesting to see him in his prime, playing a rugged leading man.

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