The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947)

75 or 77-78 mins | Comedy, Western | 29 September 1947

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HISTORY

The film opens with the following written foreword: "Montana: In the Days When Men Were Men--with Two Exceptions..." The film contained one unidentified musical number. While Lou Costello's character is called "Chester Primm" by contemporary reviews and the CBCS, the onscreen credits correctly list him as "Chester Wooley." Actress Patricia Alphin was originally cast in the role of "Juanita Hawkins" but suffered an attack of appendicitis during production and was replaced by Audrey Young, according to HR news items. Associate producer Sebastian Cristillo was the father of Lou Costello, while dialogue director Norman Abbott was the nephew of Bud Abbott. According to interviews in modern sources, Beauchamp and Bowers wrote the treatment for The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap with James Stewart in mind, but when Universal purchased the story, it cast the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello instead. Modern sources include Forbes Murray in the ... More Less

The film opens with the following written foreword: "Montana: In the Days When Men Were Men--with Two Exceptions..." The film contained one unidentified musical number. While Lou Costello's character is called "Chester Primm" by contemporary reviews and the CBCS, the onscreen credits correctly list him as "Chester Wooley." Actress Patricia Alphin was originally cast in the role of "Juanita Hawkins" but suffered an attack of appendicitis during production and was replaced by Audrey Young, according to HR news items. Associate producer Sebastian Cristillo was the father of Lou Costello, while dialogue director Norman Abbott was the nephew of Bud Abbott. According to interviews in modern sources, Beauchamp and Bowers wrote the treatment for The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap with James Stewart in mind, but when Universal purchased the story, it cast the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello instead. Modern sources include Forbes Murray in the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Oct 1947.
---
Daily Variety
24 Sep 47
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Sep 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 47
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 47
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 47
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 47
p. 2, 8
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
10 May 47
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Oct 1947.
---
New York Times
21 Nov 47
p. 36.
Variety
1 Oct 47
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap" by William Bowers and D. D. Beauchamp ( Collier's , 24 May 1947).
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 September 1947
Production Date:
late April--early June 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. and C. S. Co.
Copyright Date:
31 October 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1919
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 77-78
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12600
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Traveling salesmen Duke Eagan and Chester Wooley stop on the outskirts of the Montana town of Wagon Gap while on their way to California. Despite being warned by their stagecoach driver about the lawless nature of the town, the two head into Wagon Gap, where their sample case is quickly stolen. When Chester shoots his gun in the air in hopes of stopping the thief, Red Hawkins, the town drunk, falls from the "Roundup" saloon's roof and dies. While most of the townspeople commend Chester on his marksmanship, Jim Simpson demands that Duke and Chester be charged with murder. When Judge Benbow, the local magistrate, refuses to charge the two salesmen, crooked saloon owner Jake Frame surprises everyone by forming a lynch mob. Duke and Chester are saved, however, by Jim and his citizens' committee, who insist that the two be given a fair trial. Tried instead by a kangaroo court, the two face certain death until Jim points out the Montana dueling law, which assigns all family and financial obligations of the deceased party to the survivor. The two salesmen are then taken to the Hawkins farm, where the overbearing Widow Hawkins quickly makes plans to marry Chester, hoping that he will become a permanent provider for her and her children. After rejecting the widow's advances, Chester is forced to work all day doing various farm chores and all night at the "Roundup" in order to pay Red's debts to Jake. Soon after, Jake and Widow Hawkins begin arguing over Chester's work schedule, so the two, along with Duke, play a single hand of poker for the salesman's debts, which the widow ... +


Traveling salesmen Duke Eagan and Chester Wooley stop on the outskirts of the Montana town of Wagon Gap while on their way to California. Despite being warned by their stagecoach driver about the lawless nature of the town, the two head into Wagon Gap, where their sample case is quickly stolen. When Chester shoots his gun in the air in hopes of stopping the thief, Red Hawkins, the town drunk, falls from the "Roundup" saloon's roof and dies. While most of the townspeople commend Chester on his marksmanship, Jim Simpson demands that Duke and Chester be charged with murder. When Judge Benbow, the local magistrate, refuses to charge the two salesmen, crooked saloon owner Jake Frame surprises everyone by forming a lynch mob. Duke and Chester are saved, however, by Jim and his citizens' committee, who insist that the two be given a fair trial. Tried instead by a kangaroo court, the two face certain death until Jim points out the Montana dueling law, which assigns all family and financial obligations of the deceased party to the survivor. The two salesmen are then taken to the Hawkins farm, where the overbearing Widow Hawkins quickly makes plans to marry Chester, hoping that he will become a permanent provider for her and her children. After rejecting the widow's advances, Chester is forced to work all day doing various farm chores and all night at the "Roundup" in order to pay Red's debts to Jake. Soon after, Jake and Widow Hawkins begin arguing over Chester's work schedule, so the two, along with Duke, play a single hand of poker for the salesman's debts, which the widow wins. Later, Chester is nearly shot when he is ordered by Widow Hawkins to remove Juanita, her beautiful eldest daughter, from the stage of the "Roundup," but the gunman, fearful of ending up like Chester, refuses to pull the trigger. With every man in town afraid even to touch him, Chester is made the sheriff of Wagon Gap, and rather than using a gun, he confronts the local ruffians with a picture of his family. Soon, Chester is bossing around everyone in town, including Duke and the widow. Unhappy with his turn of fortune, Duke tells Benbow that the railroad plans to run its track through Widow Hawkins' property, making her a wealthy and eligible woman. Meanwhile, Jake and his men make plans to rob the next gold shipment, having been mistakenly given its correct date by Duke and Chester. Learning of their error, the two salesmen head for Deadman's Pass to intercept the stage, but having lost his picture of the widow and her kin, Chester agrees with Duke's plan to head for California instead. Widow Hawkins chases after the two salesmen, however, causing Chester to inadvertently stop the stagecoach robbery. He then heads back to Wagon Gap to arrest Jake and his gang, unaware that they all plan to shoot him, in hopes of inheriting the widow's railroad money. The ensuing shootout is stopped when the local women, along with a disguised Chester, attack Jake's gang, leading to the capture of the crooked saloon keeper. Jake finally confesses to killing Red, releasing Chester from his bondage, and the two salesmen make plans to head of California, only to learn that the railroad has indeed offered to buy the Hawkins farm. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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