6.8/10
447
6 user 13 critic

The Covered Wagon (1923)

Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and ... See full summary »

Director:

James Cruze

Writers:

Emerson Hough (novel), Jack Cunningham (adaptation)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
J. Warren Kerrigan ... Will Banion
Lois Wilson ... Molly Wingate
Alan Hale ... Sam Woodhull
Ernest Torrence ... William Jackson
Tully Marshall ... Jim Bridger
Ethel Wales ... Mrs. Wingate
Charles Ogle ... Jesse Wingate
Guy Oliver ... Kit Carson
Johnny Fox Johnny Fox ... Jed Wingate
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Cruze ... Indian (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and indian attack. To complicate matters further, a love triangle develops, as pretty Molly must chose between Sam, a brute, and Will, the dashing captain of the other caravan. Can Will overcome the skeleton in his closet and win Molly's heart? Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

caravan | settler | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Indian Attacks, Prairie Fires, Fording of Swollen Streams, a Great Buffalo Hunt, Dramatic Situations Galore---All Go to Make Up "The Covered Wagon" See more »


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Caravana Gloriosa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$782,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,630,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the film's opening weeks in London, a group of real American Indians was sent over to perform a tableau on the stage at the end of each screening. See more »

Goofs

Jim Bridger is presented in this film as being a bigamist with two Indian wives. Bridger actually married three times, all to Indian women, but the first died before he married the second and the second died before he married the third. See more »

Connections

Referenced in From Hollywood to Deadwood (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Highly Entertaining and Influential Western
28 May 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Covered Wagon (1923)

*** (out of 4)

Highly entertaining and influential Western about a large wagon train that starts off in the Midwest and plans to head out West and up into Oregon. Along the way there are various internal battles as well as dangerous issues with Indians as well as other problems with their journey.

One could watch THE COVERED WAGON today and say that it doesn't have anything original to it but they would be missing the point. This was a very original movie when it was originally released and it has been copied so many times since 1923 that some people might forget or just overlook the fact that the rules were formed here for all future Westerns. There are certainly some flaws in the film but at the same time there's no question that this is a highly entertaining movie and one that works on many levels.

As I said, the film is basically about this large wagon train heading out West and we see the various problems that happen on the journey. This includes a love triangle between the three main characters. You've got the good guy Will (J. Warren Kerrigan), the bad guy Sam (Alan Hale) and then there's Molly (Lois Wilson) who both want. This leads to some very fun scenes including an extended fight sequence that was perfectly directed by James Cruze. You've also got some other great action including a river crossing, a buffalo hunt and a sequence where the wagons are attacked by Indians.

There are some flaws with the film including Kerrigan not being that strong as the lead. I thought he gave a fine performance and I thought he was good to watch but at the same time I think the film would have benefited from a stronger lead. Hale was wonderful as the villain and Wilson was cute enough for what she was asked to do. The film featured some very good cinematography and I'd also argue that the editing itself was good. The locations were great and while the story itself wasn't the strongest, it was at least good enough to hold your attention throughout.

THE COVERED WAGON is certainly a landmark Western and one that influenced everything that was to follow. The movie isn't perfect but it's about as entertaining as you can get.


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