6.6/10
458
6 user 13 critic

The Covered Wagon (1923)

Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and ... See full summary »

Director:

James Cruze

Writers:

Emerson Hough (novel), Jack Cunningham (adaptation)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
J. Warren Kerrigan ... Will Banion
Lois Wilson ... Molly Wingate
Alan Hale ... Sam Woodhull
Ernest Torrence ... William Jackson
Tully Marshall ... Jim Bridger
Ethel Wales ... Mrs. Wingate
Charles Ogle ... Jesse Wingate
Guy Oliver ... Kit Carson
Johnny Fox Johnny Fox ... Jed Wingate
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Cruze ... Indian (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon. On their quest the pilgrims will experience desert heat, mountain snow, hunger, and indian attack. To complicate matters further, a love triangle develops, as pretty Molly must chose between Sam, a brute, and Will, the dashing captain of the other caravan. Can Will overcome the skeleton in his closet and win Molly's heart? Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

caravan | settler | See All (2) »

Taglines:

The cowards never started: - The weak died on the way. See more »


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Caravana Gloriosa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$782,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aside from Hollywood (1923), in which they both had brief cameos as themselves, this is the last of over 20 films to feature J. Warren Kerrigan and Lois Wilson as a romantic team. Ironically, in real life both remained single all their lives. See more »

Goofs

Jim Bridger is presented in this film as being a bigamist with two Indian wives. Bridger actually married three times, all to Indian women, but the first died before he married the second and the second died before he married the third. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Public Domain Just Got a Little Bigger (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great scenery but predictable script
22 October 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

Unfortunately time has not been particularly kind to this slow moving curiosity piece about a wagon train of pioneers headed to Oregon. The story is ordinary, the characters, not surprisingly, strictly archetypes, from the noble but modest hero (the incredibly dull J. Warren Kerrigan), to the wide eyed heroine (pretty but bland Lois Wilson), who never can seem to make up her mind who she prefers, Noble Hero (who has a rumored tarnished past) or conniving bad guy fiancée (Alan Hale, yes, I said Alan Hale, without a sign of a smile on his face). The audience is way ahead of the double minded lady as to whom she will finally choose.

James Cruze directed the production and failed to enliven or distinguish any of the much needed action sequences, whether it be a big scene, an Indian attack on the wagon train, or a smaller one (a fist fight between Kerrigan and Hale).

The film is noteworthy, however, for its photography, and in showing the far flung vistas on the horizon, does convey a sense of bigness. Also enlivening the film to a degree are the performances of Tully Marshall as a fur trapper and, in particular, Ernest Torrence as a grizzled wagon scout, stereotypes as they may be. Torrence and Marshall are entertaining enough that eight years later they would be reunited for essentially the same roles in a 1931 wagon train tale of negligible entertainment value, Fighting Caravans.

The Covered Wagon might have been considered to be a big deal for the film world in 1923 but today this trip put west is, I'm sorry to say, is just not a standout. Maybe I just expected more because Paramount silent are so hard to find and, many times, they really are standouts.


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