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The Big Trail (1930)

Breck Coleman leads hundreds of settlers in covered wagons from the Mississippi River to their destiny out West.

Directors:

Raoul Walsh, Louis R. Loeffler (uncredited)

Writer:

Hal G. Evarts (story)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Breck Coleman
Marguerite Churchill ... Ruth Cameron
El Brendel ... Gus
Tully Marshall ... Zeke
Tyrone Power Sr. ... Red Flack (as Tyrone Power)
David Rollins ... Dave Cameron
Frederick Burton ... Pa Bascom
Ian Keith ... Bill Thorpe
Charles Stevens ... Lopez
Louise Carver ... Gus's mother-in-law
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Storyline

Breck leads a wagon train of pioneers through Indian attack, storms, deserts, swollen rivers, down cliffs and so on while looking for the murder of a trapper and falling in love with Ruth. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Important Picture Ever Produced See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print) | (TCM print) | (35 mm)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper was originally offered the role of Breck Coleman and wanted it, but he was under contract to Paramount Pictures, which refused to loan him out. The role was eventually given to John Wayne. See more »

Goofs

(at around 10 mins) Breck Coleman leans his rifle against the water pump, then leaves it there and goes into the house. Not something a 'real' frontiersman would do. See more »

Quotes

Gussie: Zeke, did you hear that terrible crash?
Zeke: Hear it? I seen it! That was your wagon!
Gussie: Was my mother-in-law in it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: DEDICATED- To the men and women who planted civilization in the wilderness and courage in the blood of their children.

Gathered from the north, the south, and the east, they assemble on the bank of the Mississippi for the conquest of the west. See more »

Alternate Versions

Filmed in two versions simultaneously: widescreen process Grandeur in 70mm, and in standard 35mm. Some scenes were shot simultaneously in both formats; other scenes were shot twice, once for each format. The two versions are not identical in content - the 70mm version runs 125 minutes, while the 35mm version runs a shorter 108 minutes (but does contain some scenes not found in the longer widescreen version). See more »

Connections

Featured in Reel Injun (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

When It's Harvest Time in Peaceful Valley
(1930) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Robert Martin and Raymond McKee
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I feel like a film archaeologist
5 February 2005 | by Elisabet JonssonSee all my reviews

I have really nothing to add to all the other comments, save this: To me the film looked like a silent film slowly being adapted to sound. The text boards bringing the story along reinforced that impression I suppose. Along the way the actors were allowed to leave the stilted, theatre-like acting; Marguerite Churchill very much looks like a typical early silent movie heroine at the beginning of the film, but at the end is allowed finer expressions. Gus, the Swede?, reminded me of the comic characters of Shakespeare plays, and Windy sounded to me like an early Donald Duck.

It truly amazed me that it was all filmed outdoors, on location, and even though the dust of all the wagons, horses and cattle obscured the view it must actually have been like that for the real settlers! It also was clear to me that many of those Indians must have been real, and I didn't detect any overt racism towards them. And John Wayne looks so incredibly young! As someone who became a real Wayne fan through the cavalry trilogy by John Ford, and thought that Stage Coach was Wayne's first as a leading star, this film was a revelation. The plot is very simple, again reminding me of a silent film, but the grit is very real indeed! An amazing film to have been made with that technique and under those conditions in 1930!


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