7.2/10
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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)
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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:

8 OX POWER- But no tourist camps and no service stations along the way for intrepid pioneers seeking home and happiness at the end of- Raoul Walsh's THE BIG TRAIL (Print Ad- Daily Times, ((Beaver, Penna.)) 6 December 1930) 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

Incredibly, six different versions of this film were shot simultaneously: (1) a 70mm version in the Grandeur process for exhibition in the biggest movie palaces, (2) a standard 35mm version for general release, (3) a 35mm alternate French-language version La piste des géants (1931)', (4) a 35mm alternate Spanish-language version La gran jornada (1931), (5) a 35mm alternate German-language version Die große Fahrt (1931), and (6) a 35mm alternate Italian-language version Il grande sentiero (1931). The four alternate-language versions were shot with (mostly) different casts. 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

Caption: They have not turned back, those who died; they stay and yet they go forward. Their spirit leads.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film finishes with THE END of the BIG TRAIL 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

Alternate-language version of La gran jornada (1931) 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

 
Big, gritty and ... wide screen in 1930?
14 August 2001 | by RAS-3See all my reviews

John Wayne's first starring role just blew me away. Televised letterbox style on AMC, I had to check and make sure I had the right date. Sure enough, this 1930 film was made using a 55 mm wide-screen process. Aside from that, it features some of the grittiest, most realistic footage of the trek west I've seen. Wagons, men and animals are really lowered down a cliff face by rope. Trees are chopped by burly men -- and burly women -- so the train can move another 10 feet. The Indians are not the "pretty boy" city slickers who portrayed them later; they're the real deal. A river crossing in a driving rain storm is so realistic, it has to be real (In fact, I understand that director Raoul Walsh nearly lost the entire cast during this sequence). I could smell the wet canvas. Each day is an agony. The various sub-plots are forgettable but the film as a whole is not. I can't think of another title that can beat The Big Trail in evoking a sense of living history on the trail to Oregon. Bravo.


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