A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
Vice lord Dominic has brought Swifty Dorgan east to do a job for him. When Swifty appears to have died falling from a train, detective Henderson impersonates him hoping to get into the mob.... See full summary »
Edward F. Cline
Edward G. Robinson,
The trio of Belmet, Burch, and O'Meary are leading a wagon train west and Murdock is out to stop them. The settlers fight off his initial Indian attack and reach the mountains. With the wagon train vulnerable as it crosses a river, Murdock has the Indians make a final attack.Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Oregon Trail was accessible only by foot or horseback in its earliest days (1811-40). The first wagon train started out in 1836 when the road was improved to accommodate wagons from Independence, Missouri, to Fort Hill, Idaho. Each year improvements like ferry crossings were added. The eastern portion of the Trail also served as the beginning of other western routes--the California Trail, the Bozeman Rail, and the Mormon Trail--before they broke off into different directions. During its peak years (1846-69) 400,000 settlers, pioneers, trappers, miners, etc., took advantage of the highway. When the transcontinental railroad opened in 1869, use of the trail went into decline. See more »
Although he refers to them as trappers. Jim makes reference to the cannibalism of the Donner "Party," but that didn't occur until 1847, not 1845. See more »
There'll be no fur trade if the white man builds his house in Oregon.
Of course, this immigration cannot be halted permanently. It can be discouraged for a number of years, and now is the time to do it, but we don't want bloodshed, you understand that?
I understand the white man. When he wants land, for which he gives nothing, he'll destroy anything to get it.
You speak almost as an Indian.
My mother was an Indian... my father I never saw.
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In 1931 Paramount filmed Zane Grey's Fighting Caravans and turned it into an A picture western with Gary Cooper. It was the mentality of the studio bosses back then, why waste good stock footage. So a shorter version of this same story was done three years later with Randolph Scott playing the leading role of Clint Belmet.
Having both versions, I could compare them side by side. Same footage involving the wagon train going west and of the Indian attack climax. Just juxtapose close-ups of the current cast and you got yourself another movie on the cheap.
Since this version is only 56 minutes it was part of Paramount's B unit and played second on double bills.
Like in the first Fighting Caravans, Wagon Wheels has one young scout and two old ones leading the wagon train west. Gail Patrick gets one of her first and only leads. Usually Patrick is cast as the other woman. Maybe her best know role was as Carole Lombard's sister in My Man Godfrey.
Gary Cooper was an A list star, but Randolph Scott was on the way up and would get to not quite the top of the heap soon. He acquits himself well here.
Great stuff for the Saturday matinée crowd.
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