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Wagon Master (1950)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 22 April 1950 (USA)
Two young drifters guide a Mormon wagon train to the San Juan Valley and encounter cutthroats, Indians, geography, and moral challenges on the journey.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Frank S. Nugent (as Frank Nugent), Patrick Ford
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Johnson ... Travis Blue
Joanne Dru ... Denver
Harry Carey Jr. ... Sandy
Ward Bond ... Elder Wiggs
Charles Kemper ... Uncle Shiloh Clegg
Alan Mowbray ... Dr. A. Locksley Hall
Jane Darwell ... Sister Ledyard
Ruth Clifford ... Fleuretty Phyffe
Russell Simpson ... Adam Perkins
Kathleen O'Malley ... Prudence Perkins
James Arness ... Floyd Clegg
Francis Ford ... Mr. Peachtree
Fred Libby Fred Libby ... Reese Clegg
Jim Thorpe ... Navajo Indian
Mickey Simpson Mickey Simpson ... Jesse Clegg
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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:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Navajo | Spanish

Release Date:

22 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wagonmaster See more »

Filming Locations:

Monument Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$999,370 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argosy Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film was a personal favorite of Ford himself, who told Peter Bogdanovich in 1967 that "Along with The Fugitive and The Sun Shines Bright, Wagon Master came closest to being what I wanted to achieve." See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the film, when Travis on the horse talks to the marshal, he folds his right leg leaning it on the saddle horn. In the next shot he is with his right leg hanging unfolded. See more »

Quotes

Travis Blue: Sure hope I see you again, Miss Denver.
Denver: Thanks, but don't think on it. We move around. The medice will show you have to to keep healthy.
Travis Blue: We move around a lot trading horses. Good thing about it, though: You get see alot of pretty country, like the valley I've got in mind. A man can make an awfully nice little cattle ranch in that valley, if he didn't mind being lonesome, and some one to help him with the cooking and such...
Denver: [pauses] Goodbye, fellow.
[She runs away, blinded by tears]
See more »


Soundtracks

SHADOWS IN THE DUST
Words and Music by Stan Jones
Recorded by Sons of the Pioneers (as The Sons of the Pioneers)
Sung by the Sons of the Pioneers (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
First-rate Western masterfully directed by the great John Ford
12 April 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a great Western drama, John Ford's lusty successor to 'Fort Apache' and 'She wore yellow ribbon'. Two drifters named Travis Blue (Ben Johnson ) and Sandy Owens (Harry Carey Jr ) are hired by leaders of a Mormons congregation (Ward Bond, Russell Simpson) as wagon masters of an expedition toward Utah frontier. They must guide a religious caravan throughout a dangerous rout formerly initiated by Brigham Young from Illinois-Utah. Along the way they meet a trio of drunks (Alan Mowbray, Joanne Dru) and some bandits(Charles Kemper, James Arness, Hank Worden) who are compared to snakes . Meanwhile Travis falls in love with Denver and the wagon train heading for the promised land.

This classic picture ranks as one of the best of John Ford's work. It contains Ford's usual themes as a community decided to build the civilization on a virgin territory, friendship and comradeship among people and ample shots while wagons run over prairies and mountains filmed at Monument Valley and Professor Valley. Interesting screenplay by Frank S Nugent and Patrick Ford, booth of whom are John Ford's habitual. Excellent starring cast as Ben Johnson - formerly remembered as the sergeant in 'she wore a yellow ribbon' , here his first main role and years later achieved the best supporting actor Academy Award for 'The last Picture Show' -, he is awesome as roaming cowhand who join a congregation migrating West. Good cinematography by Bert Glennon and Archie Stout reflecting splendidly marvelous outdoors. Emotive score by Richard Hageman with wonderful songs by Stan Jones played by Sons of Pioneers. The movie is stunningly produced by Merian C Cooper - Argosy Pictures Production- and magnificently filmed by Ford with direction assistant by Cliff Lyons. Inspired the later successful TV series titled 'Wagon train' starred by Ward Bond and some episode directed by Ford. Avoid a horrible version shown in computer-colored. Rating : Very good, better than average.


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