The Rainbow Trail (1932)

60 or 62 mins | Western | 5 January 1932

Director:

David Howard

Cinematographer:

Daniel B. Clark

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The credits were taken from a screen credits sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, and the plot summary was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, both of which are at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. The title card of this film reads "Zane Grey's The Rainbow Trail ." The novel originally appeared in serial form under the title The Desert Crucible in Argosy Magazine , May-Sep 1915. This film was a sequel to the 1931 Fox film Riders of the Purple Sage , which was also based on a Zane Grey novel, and which starred George O'Brien in the role of "Lassiter" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3749). Reviews praise the picture's views of the Grand Canyon, where some scenes were shot. NYT notes that at the film's New York showing at the Roxy Theatre, it was shown on an enlarged screen. HR erroneously states that this was David Howard's first film as a director; while it was his first feature-length English-language film as a director, he had in the previous year directed a number of Spanish-language films for Fox, most of which were also made in English-language versions by other directors.
       Fox made films based on the same source in 1918 and 1925; the 1918 film was directed by Frank Lloyd and starred William Farnum (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.3634), while the 1925 film was directed by Lynn Reynolds and starred Tom Mix (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4438). Var commented concerning ... More Less

The credits were taken from a screen credits sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, and the plot summary was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, both of which are at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. The title card of this film reads "Zane Grey's The Rainbow Trail ." The novel originally appeared in serial form under the title The Desert Crucible in Argosy Magazine , May-Sep 1915. This film was a sequel to the 1931 Fox film Riders of the Purple Sage , which was also based on a Zane Grey novel, and which starred George O'Brien in the role of "Lassiter" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3749). Reviews praise the picture's views of the Grand Canyon, where some scenes were shot. NYT notes that at the film's New York showing at the Roxy Theatre, it was shown on an enlarged screen. HR erroneously states that this was David Howard's first film as a director; while it was his first feature-length English-language film as a director, he had in the previous year directed a number of Spanish-language films for Fox, most of which were also made in English-language versions by other directors.
       Fox made films based on the same source in 1918 and 1925; the 1918 film was directed by Frank Lloyd and starred William Farnum (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.3634), while the 1925 film was directed by Lynn Reynolds and starred Tom Mix (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4438). Var commented concerning the three versions and their stars, "In the lead role O'Brien probably resembles Farnum more than Mix. The latter made Rainbow Trail a fast-moving chase film. O'Brien is more suggestive of power than action. He's the best built guy in Hollywood and his thin jersey shirt always shows it." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
31 Jan 32
p. 10.
HF
31 Oct 31
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 32
p. 2.
International Photographer
Jan 32
p. 36.
Motion Picture Herald
31 Dec
p. 55.
New York Times
Jan 32
p. 13.
Variety
Feb 32
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Adpt and dial
Adpt and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
COSTUMES
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Still photog
STAND INS
Stunt double for George O'Brien
Riding double for Cecilia Parker
Stunt double
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey (New York, 1915).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"My Wife Does Fancy Work," words by Barry Conners, music by Frank Tresselt and Hugo Friedhofer.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Zane Grey's The Rainbow Trail
Release Date:
5 January 1932
Production Date:
5 October--early November 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 December 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2698
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60 or 62
Length(in feet):
5,420
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In Arizona, in 1885, Shefford takes a job on a pack train in order to discover the whereabouts of a secluded gold-filled gorge, "Surprise Valley," where a group of travelers were trapped fifteen years earlier while trying to elude Dyer, an infamous outlaw. The pack train arrives at its destination, a settlement where Dyer and his men keep their "women folk," and Shefford meets a young woman who, unknown to him, is Fay Larkin, one of the Surprise Valley dwellers who has been brought against her will to Dyer's quasi-brothel. Shefford tells her about Surprise Valley and his desire to find and help the people trapped there. Fearing for the safety of the couple who adopted her, Jane Withersteen and Jim Lassiter, Fay tells Shefford that "Fay" is dead and urges him to leave the area. Shefford later saves an Indian girl from the clutches of Willets, one of Dyer's outlaws, and he asks the girl's appreciative brother, Lone Eagle, if he knows about Surprise Valley. When Shefford returns to camp, Willets recognizes him and orders him to be tied up and led to a cliff's edge, but Lone Eagle arrives and threatens that the Navajos will declare war on Dyer's settlement if Shefford is not set free. After Lone Eagle tells Shefford that the young woman whom he met is really Fay Larkin, Shefford promises her that he will rescue Jane and Lassiter. Fay tells him that the valley is marked by a red stone shaped like a rainbow. Shefford goes to the valley, sees Lassiter below and throws him a note stating his promise to return the next day to ... +


In Arizona, in 1885, Shefford takes a job on a pack train in order to discover the whereabouts of a secluded gold-filled gorge, "Surprise Valley," where a group of travelers were trapped fifteen years earlier while trying to elude Dyer, an infamous outlaw. The pack train arrives at its destination, a settlement where Dyer and his men keep their "women folk," and Shefford meets a young woman who, unknown to him, is Fay Larkin, one of the Surprise Valley dwellers who has been brought against her will to Dyer's quasi-brothel. Shefford tells her about Surprise Valley and his desire to find and help the people trapped there. Fearing for the safety of the couple who adopted her, Jane Withersteen and Jim Lassiter, Fay tells Shefford that "Fay" is dead and urges him to leave the area. Shefford later saves an Indian girl from the clutches of Willets, one of Dyer's outlaws, and he asks the girl's appreciative brother, Lone Eagle, if he knows about Surprise Valley. When Shefford returns to camp, Willets recognizes him and orders him to be tied up and led to a cliff's edge, but Lone Eagle arrives and threatens that the Navajos will declare war on Dyer's settlement if Shefford is not set free. After Lone Eagle tells Shefford that the young woman whom he met is really Fay Larkin, Shefford promises her that he will rescue Jane and Lassiter. Fay tells him that the valley is marked by a red stone shaped like a rainbow. Shefford goes to the valley, sees Lassiter below and throws him a note stating his promise to return the next day to rescue them. Shefford then returns to the settlement to discover Dyer stabbed. Wearing Dyer's mask and coat, Shefford escapes the area with Fay. Lone Eagle helps Shefford throw ropes down to Jane and Lassiter, as Dyer's men pursue them. Once Jane and Lassiter have been pulled out of the valley, the group heads toward the river in order to escape Dyer's men. They cross a narrow chasm over a fallen tree before disengaging it from the hillside, and thus elude their pursuers. Lone Eagle confesses that he killed Dyer and says that by protecting Fay from Dyer's advances, he was paying Shefford back for saving the woman that he loves. Fay and Shefford embrace. +

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.