Santa Fe Trail (1940)

110 mins | Drama | 28 December 1940

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writer:

Robert Buckner

Cinematographer:

Sol Polito

Editor:

George Amy

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Diary of the Santa Fe. According to a news item in HR, it was planned as a follow-up to the success of Dodge City which also starred Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Other news items in HR note that this picture was part of a trend towards big-budget big-name Westerns. The trend was spurred by the success of Fox's 1939 film Jesse James and the Warner Bros. 1939 film Dodge City and their 1940 film Virginia City. A news item in HR adds that the film was shot on location around Santa Fe, NM. ...

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The working title of this film was Diary of the Santa Fe. According to a news item in HR, it was planned as a follow-up to the success of Dodge City which also starred Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Other news items in HR note that this picture was part of a trend towards big-budget big-name Westerns. The trend was spurred by the success of Fox's 1939 film Jesse James and the Warner Bros. 1939 film Dodge City and their 1940 film Virginia City. A news item in HR adds that the film was shot on location around Santa Fe, NM.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1940
p. 3
Film Daily
16 Dec 1940
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1939
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1940
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 1940
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1940
pp. 8-9
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1940
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1940
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1940
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
16 Dec 1940
p. 1, 4
New York Times
21 Dec 1940
p. 21
Variety
18 Dec 1940
p. 16
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Suzanne Carnahan
De Wolfe Hopper
Arthur Aylsworth
Ed Cobb
Reverend Neal Dodd
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture; Jack L. Warner in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Diary of the Santa Fe
Release Date:
28 December 1940
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Santa Fe: 13 Dec 1940
Production Date:
mid Jul--mid Sep 1940
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
28 December 1940
LP10140
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6559
SYNOPSIS

At the West Point Academy in 1854, cadet Carl Rader, a disciple of the fanatic John Brown, is dishonorably discharged for conspiracy. His classmates, Jeb Stuart and George Custer, graduate and are assigned to duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the most dangerous post in the army. On the way to Kansas, Custer and Stuart meet Cyrus Halliday, the man in charge of building the railroad to Santa Fe, and his daughter Kit Carson, with whom both soldiers fall in love. Arriving at the fort, they find the state bloodstained and war-torn, a victim of John Brown's relentless crusade against slavery. Meanwhile, Rader has enlisted as a mercenary in Brown's army, which has been terrorizing the countryside with their bloody raids. During Brown's raid on a freight wagon under the protection of the U.S. Army, Stuart and Custer capture Brown's injured son Jason, and before dying, the troubled boy informs them about his father's hideout at Shubel Morgan's ranch in Palmyra. In disguise, Stuart rides into Palmyra, the center of the underground slave railroad, but is recognized by Rader, who takes him at gunpoint to Brown. While trying to escape, Stuart is trapped in a burning barn but is saved as Custer leads the troops to the rescue and drives Brown into seclusion. Believing that Brown's force has been broken, Stuart and Custer are sent back to Washington, where Stuart proposes to Kit. However, far from being a broken man, Brown is planning to ignite war by raiding the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. When Brown refuses to pay Rader for his services, Rader rides to Washington to inform Stuart of Brown's plans, and the ...

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At the West Point Academy in 1854, cadet Carl Rader, a disciple of the fanatic John Brown, is dishonorably discharged for conspiracy. His classmates, Jeb Stuart and George Custer, graduate and are assigned to duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the most dangerous post in the army. On the way to Kansas, Custer and Stuart meet Cyrus Halliday, the man in charge of building the railroad to Santa Fe, and his daughter Kit Carson, with whom both soldiers fall in love. Arriving at the fort, they find the state bloodstained and war-torn, a victim of John Brown's relentless crusade against slavery. Meanwhile, Rader has enlisted as a mercenary in Brown's army, which has been terrorizing the countryside with their bloody raids. During Brown's raid on a freight wagon under the protection of the U.S. Army, Stuart and Custer capture Brown's injured son Jason, and before dying, the troubled boy informs them about his father's hideout at Shubel Morgan's ranch in Palmyra. In disguise, Stuart rides into Palmyra, the center of the underground slave railroad, but is recognized by Rader, who takes him at gunpoint to Brown. While trying to escape, Stuart is trapped in a burning barn but is saved as Custer leads the troops to the rescue and drives Brown into seclusion. Believing that Brown's force has been broken, Stuart and Custer are sent back to Washington, where Stuart proposes to Kit. However, far from being a broken man, Brown is planning to ignite war by raiding the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. When Brown refuses to pay Rader for his services, Rader rides to Washington to inform Stuart of Brown's plans, and the troops arrive just in time to crush the rebellion and hang Brown.

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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.