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Wagon Master (1950)

 -  Western  -  19 April 1950 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,525 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 21 critic

Two young drifters guide a Mormon wagon train to the San Juan Valley and encounter cutthroats, Indians, geography, and moral challenges on the journey.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Travis / Travis Blue
...
Denver
...
Sandy
...
Wiggs / Elder Wiggs
Charles Kemper ...
Uncle Shiloh Clegg
...
Dr. A. Locksley Hall
...
Sister Ledyard
...
Fleuretty Phyffe
Russell Simpson ...
Adam Perkins
Kathleen O'Malley ...
Prudence Perkins
...
Floyd Clegg
Francis Ford ...
Mr. Peachtree
Fred Libby ...
Reese Clegg
Jim Thorpe ...
Navajo Indian
Mickey Simpson ...
Jesse Clegg
Edit

Storyline

As Mormon settlers head to the promised land at the San Juan river in Utah, they hire horse traders Travis Blue and Sandy as wagon masters. They have to forge a trail across unknown territory and face many hardships along the way. They quickly come across some stranded travelers, a medicine show run by Dr. A. Locksley Hall which includes the attractive Denver. Along the way however, they are also joined by Shiloh Clegg and his murderous clan of robbers and thieves. An encounter with the Navajo leads to an invitation to their camp but after one of the Clegg boys gets a whipping for attacking one of the Navajo women, Uncle Shiloh plans his revenge. It's left to Sandy and Travis to protect the travelers and get them to their destination. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Ford's lusty successor to "Fort Apache" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wagonmaster  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Sandy and the Mormon fight, the fight is broken up by Ward Bond's character. Bond has ripped pants as he separates the fighters and you can hear a dog barking in the background. This happened because director John Ford wanted to use two dogs, that had been ruining every scene in the film by fighting, in the background as the men fought, hoping the dogs would start fighting as a contrast to the men fighting. Instead of fighting, however, one of the dogs ran away and the other attacked Bond and ripped his pants. Ford could barely contain his laughter but kept filming. Afterward, he became quite concerned and said they needed to find the dog in case it had bitten Bond, not just ripped his pants. Ford was worried the dog might have needed a tetanus shot. See more »

Goofs

After Denver throws the bucket of water on Travis and he falls in the dirt, his arms and back are covered in dirt, in the next shot there is hardly any dirt on him, and he did not have time to brush it off. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Travis BlueElder Wiggs: Wagons West!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Come, Come, ye Saints
(uncredited)
Words by William Clayton, 1846
Music by Jesse White, 1844
See more »

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User Reviews

 
`Rollin' Shadows in the Dust'
15 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

Wagon Master is a very unique film amongst John Ford's work. Mainly because it's the only one that is based on a story written by John Ford himself, the story that was elaborated by Frank Nugent and director's son – Patrick Ford and turned into a screenplay, and because of director's personal opinion regarding it, Wagon Master is the film John Ford called the one which `came closest to being what I had wanted to achieve', to say so is not to say a little, but as Ford confessed once to Lindsay Anderson, his favourite was nonetheless My Darling Clementine and not any other.

Wagon Master has all ingredients one might expect to find in a John Ford's film. Wonderful cast delivering his best, thou not featuring any major stars, except the most `fordian' of all actors – Ben Johnson. Very peculiar small characters, who provide an obligatory comic relief, and Wagon Master has quite a few of them such as horn blowing Sister Ledyard (Jane Darwell) in her shot but very inspired gigs. And last but not least legendary Monument Valley with John Ford's fifth passage through it after Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

The film starts with two friends cowboys Travis Blue (Ben Johnson) and Sandy Owens (Harry Carey Jr) being hired to be Wagon Masters or guides for a caravan of Mormon settlers who are headed to Silver Valley, a place that's for them like a promised land. On their way they are joined by a very peculiar Dr. Locksley Hall (Alan Mowbray) with two beautiful women, who are supposedly his wife and daughter and who call themselves actors. They are headed in the same direction simply because they were recently driven out of the nearest town and have no other place to go. Nothing particularly unpleasant happens till they bump into Cleggs, a dangerous family gang consisting of father and his three sons who are on the run from the Marshal of the town where they recently committed murder and bank robbery.

Overall Wagon Master is no more nor less than one more precious pearl in a necklace of John Ford's wonderful Westerns. A must see. 9/10


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