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Sutter's Gold (1936)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | 1 March 1936 (USA)
Story of the gold strike on an immigrant's property that started the 1849 California Gold Rush.


James Cruze


Blaise Cendrars (based on novel by), Jack Kirkland (screenplay) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview:
Edward Arnold ... Johan (John) Sutter
Lee Tracy ... Pete Perkin
Binnie Barnes ... Countess Elizabeth Bartoffski
Katharine Alexander ... Anna Sutter
Montagu Love ... Capt. Kettleson
Addison Richards ... James Marshall
John Miljan ... Gen. Juan Bautista Alvarado
Harry Carey ... Kit Carson
William Janney ... John Sutter Jr.
Nan Grey ... Ann Eliza Sutter
Robert Warwick ... Gen. Alexander Rotscheff
Morgan Wallace ... General Fremont
Allen Vincent ... Juan Bautista Alvarado Jr.
Mitchell Lewis ... King Kamehameha


Story of the gold strike on an immigrant's property that started the 1849 California Gold Rush.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 March 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Conquista do Ouro See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was reportedly Universal's biggest box office disaster of the era. It cost $2,000,000 in 1936 when the typical Universal production cost about $100,000. See more »


Edited into Scouts to the Rescue (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

A historical mess....it's also pretty dull and episodic and nearly destroyed the studio!
11 January 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Sutter's Gold" is a notorious film as it cost a fortune to make and lost nearly every penny of the investment. Considering that Universal Studios was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, the timing couldn't have been worse! So why did it cost so much and why was it such a poor film? As for the cost, I frankly don't know how it cost $2,000,000 to make (a HUGE sum for the time), as the actors were mostly second or third-tier and the director a relative unknown. The money sure didn't go for salaries! Perhaps it was the scope of the film--as it was supposedly set all over the world. But most, if not all of these locations appeared to have been filmed on the Universal back lot! I just don't understand where all the money went!

As to why it's such a poor film, that's pretty easy to determine. The script was syrupy, overly sentimental and boring. That it was boring is because so much of the film comes off as episodic and disconnected. But that it was dull is a surprise because Sutter's life was pretty interesting when I read up on the man. I can only assume that this is because the script rarely bears much semblance to his actual life...and the prologue actually admits that it's mostly fiction! Regardless, it's not a terrible film but one that seems to go on and on and on....and the main character is, for the most part, a lying blowhard.

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