6.3/10
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Santa Fe Trail (1940)

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In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writer:

Robert Buckner (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... Jeb Stuart
Olivia de Havilland ... 'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)
Raymond Massey ... John Brown
Ronald Reagan ... George Armstrong Custer
Alan Hale ... Tex Bell
William Lundigan ... Bob Holliday
Van Heflin ... Rader
Gene Reynolds ... Jason Brown
Henry O'Neill ... Cyrus Holliday
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Windy Brody
Alan Baxter ... Oliver Brown
John Litel ... Martin
Moroni Olsen ... Robert E. Lee
David Bruce ... Phil Sheridan
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Barber Doyle
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Storyline

The story of Jeb Stuart, his romance with Kit Carson Holliday, friendship with George Custer and battles against John Brown in the days leading up to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

America's Pioneer Heroes Come To Life ! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diary of the Santa Fe See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)| Mono (Vitasound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Errol Flynn plays Jeb Stuart, with Ronald Reagan playing George Armstrong Custer. A year later Flynn would play Custer in They Died with Their Boots On (1941). See more »

Goofs

While they discuss how the guns got into crates marked bibles. The owner of the freight company says they once found three tons of gunpowder marked birdseed. Three tons of bird seed would have been very suspicious in the 1850's. Birdseed is for pets, like canaries. There were very few pet birds on what was the frontier in those days. This was a writer's mistake. He should have said "chicken feed". See more »

Quotes

James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: What do you mean trailing us halfway across Kansas?
Windy Brody: Well, we don't want you to get lost. You see, I know every wrinkle of this here country like my own face.
James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: Well, you should. It's just as dirty!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: "1854, THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT When the gray cradle of the American Army was only a small garrison with few cadets, but under a brilliant Commandant, named Robert E. Lee it was already building for the defense of a newly-won nation in a new world." See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD version released in Brazil by Aspen Editora Ltda. (Revista Digital Showtime Clássicos collection) runs 114 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Benny Havens, Oh!
(uncredited)
Words by Lucius O'Brien, John T. Metcalfe, Ripley A. Arnold, and others
Music Traditional ("The Wearing of the Green")
Sung by the soldiers at the farewell party at Fort Leavenworth
See more »

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User Reviews

Historical accuracy aside, an exciting and essentially satisfying film
22 June 2001 | by rmears1See all my reviews

Santa Fe Trail may not be great filmmaking, but it succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish and is generally satisfying viewing. Errol Flynn stars as J.E.B. Stuart, fresh out of West Point and now stationed at Fort Leavenworth in the Kansas territory, the starting point of the westward Santa Fe Trail. This was particularly hazardous country at the time, because abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey) was conducting violent raids along the trail. It quickly becomes the duty of Stuart and his pal Custer (Ronald Reagan) to capture Brown dead or alive, and put and end to his attacks.

There are many exciting sequences in the film, leading up to the final confrontation at Harper's Ferry. There's also a predictable romantic triangle between Flynn, Reagan and Olivia de Havilland. (Guess which one she picks!) The movie deserves credit for taking an objective viewpoint toward Brown, acknowledging that his motives were good even if his methods were not.

As Stuart, Flynn proves to be equally adroit in westerns as in swashbucklers. Reagan and de Havilland fill their less demanding roles with ease, and Alan Hale and Guinn `Big Boy' Williams provide much-needed comic relief. Massey somewhat overplays his hand as Brown, however. He comes off as too sanctimonious, more a cliché villain than a three-dimensional human being.

Apparently, the film is a travesty in terms of historical accuracy. Who cares? Movies are an entertainment medium. Anyone seeking facts alone had better confine their search to encyclopedias. Otherwise, just sit back and be amused.


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