Apache Trail (1942)

66 mins | Western | September 1942

Producer:

Samuel Marx

Cinematographer:

Sidney Wagner

Editor:

Frank Sullivan

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Stage Station and Desert Station . According to a contemporary, but unidentified news item in the AMPAS Library file on the film, Ernest Haycox's story was originally sold to Samuel Goldwyn studios. On 1 Aug 1941, Goldwyn sold the rights to the story, for which Haycox had written a brief treatment, to M-G-M. At that time, Donald Hough and Houston Branch worked on a sixty-five page treatment. A 20 Aug 1941 HR news item noted that Cyril Hume was "scripting" the picture, which was to co-star John Carroll and Hedy Lamarr. Neither Hume, Hough nor Houston is credited onscreen, the SAB or in reviews, and the extent of their contribution to the final film has not been determined. An HR news item on 29 Dec 1941 notes that Robert Taylor and Wallace Beery were to star in the film.
       According to HR news items and production charts, director Richard Rosson worked on the picture from the pre-production stage in late Dec 1941 through early Apr 1942, when thirty-one days of shooting had been completed. A HR news item on 6 Apr 1942 noted that Rosson was ill and was being replaced by Richard Thorpe, who would finish the picture. Only Thorpe is given onscreen credit for direction of the film, which was completed by mid-Apr 1942. Other news items reveal the following information: exteriors for the film were shot on location in and around Tucson, AZ, where a "stage station" set was built especially for the production; following location shooting, production resumed at the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Stage Station and Desert Station . According to a contemporary, but unidentified news item in the AMPAS Library file on the film, Ernest Haycox's story was originally sold to Samuel Goldwyn studios. On 1 Aug 1941, Goldwyn sold the rights to the story, for which Haycox had written a brief treatment, to M-G-M. At that time, Donald Hough and Houston Branch worked on a sixty-five page treatment. A 20 Aug 1941 HR news item noted that Cyril Hume was "scripting" the picture, which was to co-star John Carroll and Hedy Lamarr. Neither Hume, Hough nor Houston is credited onscreen, the SAB or in reviews, and the extent of their contribution to the final film has not been determined. An HR news item on 29 Dec 1941 notes that Robert Taylor and Wallace Beery were to star in the film.
       According to HR news items and production charts, director Richard Rosson worked on the picture from the pre-production stage in late Dec 1941 through early Apr 1942, when thirty-one days of shooting had been completed. A HR news item on 6 Apr 1942 noted that Rosson was ill and was being replaced by Richard Thorpe, who would finish the picture. Only Thorpe is given onscreen credit for direction of the film, which was completed by mid-Apr 1942. Other news items reveal the following information: exteriors for the film were shot on location in and around Tucson, AZ, where a "stage station" set was built especially for the production; following location shooting, production resumed at the studio on 27 Mar 1942; actors Eddie Dunn, and Aubrey Mather were cast in the film, but neither was in the released film; and, David Snell was at one time set to score the film.
       According to information in the file on the film in the PCA/MPAA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA advised M-G-M that the nationality of Rosalia and Señora Martinez should be changed to Spanish instead of Mexican, as they were in Ernest Haycox's short story. Correspondence in the file indicates that Addison Durland, the PCA's expert in Latin American matters, was concerned that certain aspects of the characterizations of the two women might be offensive to the Mexican people. A 18 Dec 1941 letter from Durland to M-G-M studio head Louis B. Mayer advised that, despite the change in Señora Martinez and Rosalia's nationality, the film should not "present them in such a manner that might make them appear grotesque, inferior or servile, in order to avoid the possibility of offending the great number of Latin American people of Spanish extraction." Additional information in the file indicates that the film contained stock shots originally shot for Walter Wanger's 1939 film Stagecoach (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4284). M-G-M also adapted Haycox's story for the 1952 film entitled Apache War Smoke , directed by Howard Kress, and starring Gilbert Roland and Robert Horton. That film used some footage from the 1942 film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Jun 1942.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Jun 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 42
p. 4, 7
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 42
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 42
p. 4, 7
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
24 Jun 1942.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Jun 42
p. 737.
The Exhibitor
1 Jul 1942.
---
Variety
24 Jun 42
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
MAKEUP
Hair styles by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Stage Station" by Ernest Haycox in Collier's (22 Apr 1939).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Desert Station
Stage Station
Release Date:
September 1942
Production Date:
early March--mid April 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 June 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11435
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in feet):
5,907
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8397
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At a border town, stagecoach guard Tom Folliard is released from jail after serving time for consorting with criminals. When his brother, "Trigger" Bill, offers him a cut from a robbery, Tom says he wants nothing more to do with him, then tries to get his old job back. His boss decides instead to offer him a manager's post at the worst station on the line, Tonto Valley, in Apache territory. Tom is happy for the chance, and takes the next stage out. At the station, he is greeted by cook Señora Martinez and her daughter Rosalia, who is secretly in love with Tom. They are happy to have Tom as their new boss and, along with teenaged Indian Cochee, resolve to make Tonto Valley the best station on the line. Some weeks later, on the day that a coach carrying artist James V. Thorne and his wife and attractive, opportunistic widow Constance Selden arrives, distant smoke signals and Apache war drums concern Tom. That afternoon, U.S. Cavalry Major Lowden arrives to pick up supplies, and a short time later, Bill rides in, causing the wary Tom to lock up the company strongbox and confiscate Bill's guns. The next morning, when an Apache arrow is shot into the station, Tom rides out to investigate and gives the strongbox key to the stagecoach drivers. While Tom is gone, Constance indicates to Señora Martinez and Rosalia that she plans to marry him, even though Bill tells her that he is more her kind than Tom's. Despite the danger of an impending Apache attack, the major leaves for his fort and promises to send ... +


At a border town, stagecoach guard Tom Folliard is released from jail after serving time for consorting with criminals. When his brother, "Trigger" Bill, offers him a cut from a robbery, Tom says he wants nothing more to do with him, then tries to get his old job back. His boss decides instead to offer him a manager's post at the worst station on the line, Tonto Valley, in Apache territory. Tom is happy for the chance, and takes the next stage out. At the station, he is greeted by cook Señora Martinez and her daughter Rosalia, who is secretly in love with Tom. They are happy to have Tom as their new boss and, along with teenaged Indian Cochee, resolve to make Tonto Valley the best station on the line. Some weeks later, on the day that a coach carrying artist James V. Thorne and his wife and attractive, opportunistic widow Constance Selden arrives, distant smoke signals and Apache war drums concern Tom. That afternoon, U.S. Cavalry Major Lowden arrives to pick up supplies, and a short time later, Bill rides in, causing the wary Tom to lock up the company strongbox and confiscate Bill's guns. The next morning, when an Apache arrow is shot into the station, Tom rides out to investigate and gives the strongbox key to the stagecoach drivers. While Tom is gone, Constance indicates to Señora Martinez and Rosalia that she plans to marry him, even though Bill tells her that he is more her kind than Tom's. Despite the danger of an impending Apache attack, the major leaves for his fort and promises to send help. Out in the hills, Tom sees an Apache war party pulling a white man after them. He is able to free the wounded man, whose name is "Pike" Skelton, when the Apaches dismount to investigate a shot he fired. As they ride back to the station, Pike tells Tom that the Apaches are on the warpath because of an underhanded white man. Back at the station, Thorne paints a portrait of Cochee, then, on Bill's suggestion, paints him as well. When Bill says that the picture would be better with his guns, Thorne innocently gives him his, and Bill forces the other men to hand over the strongbox and all the weapons. He starts to ride off, forcing Constance to go with him, but when Cochee opens the station gates, Tom and Pike are there. Bill goads Tom into a gunfight and is shocked that Tom is able to outdraw him. Tom merely wounds Bill's hands, and while Bill and Pike are being treated, Pike reveals details about the white man whom the Apaches are seeking, and Bill is revealed to be the man. Later that night, when Constance tells Tom that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, he kisses her, breaking Rosalia's heart. The next morning, the Apaches attack the station and Cochee is killed saving Tom's life. Mr. Thorne is also killed, after which a lone Apache rides to the station to warn that they must surrender Bill or be killed. When the Apache throws down the major's hat, they realize that the cavalry will not be coming. Tom insists that they vote on Bill's fate, and Tom breaks a tie by voting to save him. As they prepare for the next attack, Rosalia confesses her love to Tom, then Bill chides his brother for saving him, while secretly admiring him. As the station is surrounded, Bill steals a horse and rides off, leading the Apaches away from Tonto Valley. The next day, Constance takes the stage out, but Señora Martinez and Rosalia stay when Tom asks for Rosalia's hand. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.