7.1/10
3,878
51 user 39 critic

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 ... 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 »
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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

Harry Carey, Jr. rode his own horse called "Mormon", and Ben Johnson rode a famous movie horse called "Steel", that was owned by his father-in-law "Fat" Jones, who ran the most well-known horse renting stable in Hollywood. In the galloping scenes Johnson rode Steel's stunt double "Bingo", and was quoted as saying he was just a passenger, as "Bingo" thundered down the hills. According to Carey, Steel and Mormon became very attached and ruined quite a few scenes by calling out to each other. See more »

Goofs

When the marshal mounts the horse and Sandy whistles, he is sitting on the fence, on the right side of Travis. Soon after, when the Mormons arrive, Sandy is sitting on the left side of Travis See more »

Quotes

Sandy: By Golly, I bet it's going to be hotter then...
Jackson: [Angrily] Mind your language!
Sandy: I wasn't cussin'!
Jackson: You were going to say Hell!
Sandy: I was going to say Hades, but Hell ain't cussin', it's geography... It's the name of a place, like you might say Abilene or Salt Lake City.
Jackson: [Taking offense] Don't you be going making any remarks about Salt Lake City!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

My brief review of the film
17 April 2006 | by sol-See all my reviews

Although Ford's movie only really starts halfway through, once the traveling folk and the outlaws meet, the second half of the film is strong enough that the lengthy roundabout beginning is almost forgotten. The outlaws are plain stereotypes, painted very similar to the Clantons in 'My Darling Clementine', but the intense interactions between them and the traveling folk are worth watching for. Oddly enough, the depth of the film does not lie in the happenings between them but rather in the singing and dancing featured. Song and dance is shown as a uniting force between very different cultures, and the songs of the film are very well suited to the Old West atmosphere. The film is a mix of different things: there is a typical predictable love interest, awkward bits of humour, and of course men slinging guns. Then there is the plot of outlaws against the good guys and the almost non-related deeper ideas about bonding between different people. The overall product is rather strange and certainly not one of John Ford's strongest efforts. That said, it is good viewing once it gets going, and Ford captures the vast western landscape as well as one would expect.


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