7.2/10
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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

In the scene where Travis (Ben Johnson) gets bucked off his horse after Denver (Joanne Dru) throws water on it, Ben Johnson did his own stunts. They used a genuine rodeo bucking horse and John Ford promised Johnson if he rode the horse, he would not have to do any dialogue for the day, which apparently pleased Johnson. He lasted four bucks and came off so hard, he was almost knocked out. Unfortunately, the shot was ruined by one of the wranglers running out to him and asking if he was all right as he lay on the ground. Johnson had to get up and ride the horse again. This time he lasted ten bucks before he bailed off, and Ford got his shot. 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: Feet hurt, ma'am?
Denver: Nope!
Travis Blue: Well here, try these on!
[Hands here a pair of walking shoes, she puts them on]
Denver: Did you get these from that... red-headed gal?
Travis Blue: You mean Miss Prudence?... yes ma'am.
Denver: Is she your wife?
Travis Blue: No ma'am... How do they feel?
Denver: Fine. A little large for me maybe, but fine. Thanks very much, and thank your lady friend.
[Denver arises, and starts to walk away, Travis looks after her]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mighty Joe Young (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER ?
by ROBERT LOWRY
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The covered wagons, their people and their music
29 November 2005 | by tmwestSee all my reviews

It takes a while to get adjusted to the sound of Sons of The Pioneers , but then you thoroughly enjoy it. If the soundtrack would be played by an orchestra like Max Steiner or Dmitri Tiomkin it would lose its folkloric character. The music conducts the film, everything seems to follow its rhythm. The whole cast is excellent. Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr. are the young men guiding the caravan. Ward Bond is the Mormon leader and Joanne Dru is a flirting actress. Ford was able to make of what would be an ordinary western, something totally different and original showing us the music, the dances, and most of all, the people.


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