Wagon Wheels (1934)

55-56 mins | Western | 14 September 1934

Director:

Charles Barton

Writer:

Jack Cunningham

Producer:

Harold Hurley

Cinematographer:

William C. Mellor

Editor:

Jack Dennis

Production Designer:

Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

Paramount Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Zane Grey's novel was serialized in Country Gentleman between Nov 1928 and Mar 1929. The title card on the viewed print read "Zane Grey's Wagon Wheels ." This film's working title was Fighting Caravans , the title of a 1931 Paramount film also based on Zane Grey's story (see above). A modern source states that footage from Fighting Caravans was used in this film. According to press material found in copyright records, portions of this film were shot at the ranch of Al Gatesman, located near Cooperstown, CA, thirty miles from Sonora. The title song for this film was first used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934 . Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Pauline Moore, Lew Meehan, Fern Emmett, Clara Lou Sheridan, Harold Goodwin and Howard ... More Less

Zane Grey's novel was serialized in Country Gentleman between Nov 1928 and Mar 1929. The title card on the viewed print read "Zane Grey's Wagon Wheels ." This film's working title was Fighting Caravans , the title of a 1931 Paramount film also based on Zane Grey's story (see above). A modern source states that footage from Fighting Caravans was used in this film. According to press material found in copyright records, portions of this film were shot at the ranch of Al Gatesman, located near Cooperstown, CA, thirty miles from Sonora. The title song for this film was first used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934 . Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Pauline Moore, Lew Meehan, Fern Emmett, Clara Lou Sheridan, Harold Goodwin and Howard Wilson. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jul 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
8 Aug 34
p. 7.
Daily Variety
1 Sep 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Oct 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 34
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
8 Sep 34
p. 38.
New York Times
4 Oct 34
p. 19.
Variety
9 Oct 34
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Vocal interpolations: "Estrellita"
Vocal interpolations: "Under the Daisies"
Vocal interpolations: "Wagon Wheels"
Vocal interpolations: "Wagon Wheels"
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey (New York, 1929).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Wagon Wheels," words and music by Peter DeRose and Billy Hill
"Estrellita," words and music by Manuel Ponce, adapted by Frank LaForge
"Under the Daisies," composer unknown.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Zane Greys Wagon Wheels
Fighting Caravans
Release Date:
14 September 1934
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 3 October 1934
Production Date:
began 8 August 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 September 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4956
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
55-56
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
196
SYNOPSIS

On May 1, 1840, a wagon train leaves Independence, Missouri, for Oregon, led by old scouts Bill O'Meary and Jim Burch and the young Clint Belmet, whom they reared. Joining them are the beautiful widow Nancy Wellington and her little boy Sonny, whom Nancy kidnapped from her in-laws after they took custody of Sonny when his father died. Clint warns Nancy about the arduous trip West, but she is determined and buys a sturdy rig from the half-Indian fur trapper Kenneth Murdock. Fearing the white man will destroy his prosperous fur trade in the Northwest, Murdock conspires with other trappers to prevent the settlers from reaching Powder River. Meanwhile, the elderly Abby Masters, who is keeping a journal of the trip, falls in love with Jim and records the caravan's two week fight with roving bands of Indians. After the fifth man dies, Murdock tries to convince the train to turn back, but Clint refuses. While Sonny celebrates his fourth birthday, Nancy confides her past to Clint and the two fall silently in love. When the train reaches the Beaver Parks Trading Post, the men spend two weeks drinking and gambling, until Clint, disappearing for four days, spies Murdock conspiring with Indians and rallies the women to force their men back on the trail. When they reach Powder River, the Indians attack; Abby's sister Hetty and scout Bill are killed before Clint sets the kerosene wagon on fire and creates a cloud of smoke, forcing the Indians to retreat. While the hand of Bill's ghost joins them in a pledge, Jim and Clint promise to lead the train safely to Oregon. ... +


On May 1, 1840, a wagon train leaves Independence, Missouri, for Oregon, led by old scouts Bill O'Meary and Jim Burch and the young Clint Belmet, whom they reared. Joining them are the beautiful widow Nancy Wellington and her little boy Sonny, whom Nancy kidnapped from her in-laws after they took custody of Sonny when his father died. Clint warns Nancy about the arduous trip West, but she is determined and buys a sturdy rig from the half-Indian fur trapper Kenneth Murdock. Fearing the white man will destroy his prosperous fur trade in the Northwest, Murdock conspires with other trappers to prevent the settlers from reaching Powder River. Meanwhile, the elderly Abby Masters, who is keeping a journal of the trip, falls in love with Jim and records the caravan's two week fight with roving bands of Indians. After the fifth man dies, Murdock tries to convince the train to turn back, but Clint refuses. While Sonny celebrates his fourth birthday, Nancy confides her past to Clint and the two fall silently in love. When the train reaches the Beaver Parks Trading Post, the men spend two weeks drinking and gambling, until Clint, disappearing for four days, spies Murdock conspiring with Indians and rallies the women to force their men back on the trail. When they reach Powder River, the Indians attack; Abby's sister Hetty and scout Bill are killed before Clint sets the kerosene wagon on fire and creates a cloud of smoke, forcing the Indians to retreat. While the hand of Bill's ghost joins them in a pledge, Jim and Clint promise to lead the train safely to Oregon. There Jim and Abby decide to marry, and Clint asks Sonny if he would like him for a father. +

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.