6.3/10
2,545
74 user 21 critic

Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 28 December 1940 (USA)
In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)
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Gene Reynolds ...
Jason Brown
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Robert E. Lee
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Phil Sheridan
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Barber Doyle
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Storyline

The story of Jeb Stuart, his romance with Kit Carson Holliday, friendship with George Custer and battles against John Brown in the days leading up to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A thousand miles of danger, a thousand thrills a mile! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diary of the Santa Fe  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)| (Vitasound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Errol Flynn plays Jeb Stuart, with Ronald Reagan playing George Armstrong Custer. A year later Flynn would play Custer in They Died with Their Boots On (1941). See more »

Goofs

The artillery pieces at the Harper's Ferry battle are shown being pulled by teams of four horses. Prior to the Civil War all field artillery pieces, except the M1841 12-pound Gun used teams of six horses (the 12-pound gun required eight horses). A shortage of horses during the War caused field artillery horse teams to be reduced to four horses, a changed which continued after the War. See more »

Quotes

Kit Carson Holliday: Jeb, I'm frightened. That boy is crippled for life. And that man on the train, he died for a principle. A man killed for a principle. One of them is wrong, but which one?
James Ewell Brown 'Jeb' Stuart: Who knows the answer to that, Kit. Everybody in America is trying to decide.
Kit Carson Holliday: Yes, by words from the east, and by guns from the west. But one day, the words will turn into guns.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: "1854, THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT When the gray cradle of the American Army was only a small garrison with few cadets, but under a brilliant Commandant, named Robert E. Lee it was already building for the defense of a newly-won nation in a new world." See more »

Connections

Featured in Western Outlaws: 50 Movie MegaPack (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Along the Santa Fe Trail
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Will Grosz
Played when Jeb and George say goodbye to Kit and when Jeb first kisses her
Waltz version played at the party in Washington
Played at the wedding and during the end credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Historical accuracy aside, an exciting and essentially satisfying film
22 June 2001 | by (Clifton, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Santa Fe Trail may not be great filmmaking, but it succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish and is generally satisfying viewing. Errol Flynn stars as J.E.B. Stuart, fresh out of West Point and now stationed at Fort Leavenworth in the Kansas territory, the starting point of the westward Santa Fe Trail. This was particularly hazardous country at the time, because abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey) was conducting violent raids along the trail. It quickly becomes the duty of Stuart and his pal Custer (Ronald Reagan) to capture Brown dead or alive, and put and end to his attacks.

There are many exciting sequences in the film, leading up to the final confrontation at Harper's Ferry. There's also a predictable romantic triangle between Flynn, Reagan and Olivia de Havilland. (Guess which one she picks!) The movie deserves credit for taking an objective viewpoint toward Brown, acknowledging that his motives were good even if his methods were not.

As Stuart, Flynn proves to be equally adroit in westerns as in swashbucklers. Reagan and de Havilland fill their less demanding roles with ease, and Alan Hale and Guinn `Big Boy' Williams provide much-needed comic relief. Massey somewhat overplays his hand as Brown, however. He comes off as too sanctimonious, more a cliché villain than a three-dimensional human being.

Apparently, the film is a travesty in terms of historical accuracy. Who cares? Movies are an entertainment medium. Anyone seeking facts alone had better confine their search to encyclopedias. Otherwise, just sit back and be amused.


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