7.2/10
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47 user 27 critic

Wagon Master (1950)

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

According to Harry Carey, Jr., Joanne Dru's husband, John Ireland, stayed in town during the shooting, and avoided the set, but did organize the company into a performance of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" in the evening. See more »

Goofs

Prudence arrives after Wiggs and Adam, and stands behind them, in front of Sandy on the fence. Between shots she appears near Sandy, with her back to him. See more »

Quotes

Travis Blue: [of the indians] Near as I can figure out, he don't seem to like white men.
Sandy: Yeah, he say's we're all thieves.
Elder Wiggs: Smarter then he looks!
[Sandy speaks Navajo, evidently translating what Elder Wiggs had just said]
Elder Wiggs: Don't tell him that, you fool! Tell him we're Mormans!
[the Navajos speak in their native touge, mutterring "Mormany" repeatedly]
Elder Wiggs: What'd he say?
Sandy: Say's the Mormans are his brothers. Say's they ain't big thieves like most white men. Just little thieves.
Elder Wiggs: Right complementery, ain't he?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cult of the Cobra (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

CHUCKAWALLA SWING
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)
Called by Russell Simpson
Danced by cast
See more »

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User Reviews

two cowboys help a wagon train to roll West
9 December 2005 | by paulmoran99See all my reviews

Other reviewers have described Wagonmaster splendidly.But I would like to look at it's main lead, Ben Johnson.

I was 10 when Wagonmaster came out, and by then Johnson had become a hero to us boys in St.Ives,Cornwall.Johnson had worked his way up to the Travis Blue role the hard way; from being a rodeo man to John Waynes sidekick.We were fascinated by his horsemanship in his early roles, and were completely sold by his neat act of jumping off a horse whilst it was still moving.Very soon, every lad at school was Ben Johnson, as we charged around on pretend horses. His appeal was in his drawl, the measured, laconic delivery he had. His approach was the easy, deliberate action of a cowboy who was completely honest, trustworthy and dependable. In Wagonmaster he got his break, and with Harry Carey Jnr., formed a memorable parnership. Careys' exuberance somehow balances Johnsons nonchalant style, and they epitomize the young West, it'sdangers, hopes and sorrows.You just know, that as long as they are around, everything is gonna be OK.

For me Ben Johnson is as much a part of the screen West as any of the Western stars, like John Wayne and Gary Cooper. There was no one quite like him, and his roles, small or big, linger in the mind.

The elegiac Wagonmaster is his legacy to Western genre


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