Prairie Schooners (1940)

58 mins | Western | 30 September 1940

Director:

Sam Nelson

Producer:

Leon Barsha

Cinematographer:

George Meehan

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Into the Crimson West . Following the opening credits, there is a brief montage, accompanied by a voice-over narration that gives background on the Kansas drought presented in the story. Bill Elliott first appeared as Hickok in the 1938 Columbia serial The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok , from which he adopted the sobriquet "Wild Bill." In 1940, Columbia inaugurated a feature-length series of Wild Bill Hickok pictures, beginning with Prairie Schooners . The series, which does not accurately portray the historical facts of Hickok's life, consisted of eight films and ended with the 1942 picture Prairie Gunsmoke . All films in the series starred Elliott as Hickok and were produced by Leon Barhsa. In the first films, Dub Taylor played Hickok's sidekick, "Cannonball." Taylor was replaced by Frank Mitchell in the 1942 films Prairie Gunsmoke and The Devil's Trail . In the 1941 picture King of Dodge City , Tex Ritter joined the ensemble. Modern sources add Merrill McCormack and George Morrell to the cast. For more information about the real Hickok, please see the entry above for The Plainsman ... More Less

The working title of this film was Into the Crimson West . Following the opening credits, there is a brief montage, accompanied by a voice-over narration that gives background on the Kansas drought presented in the story. Bill Elliott first appeared as Hickok in the 1938 Columbia serial The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok , from which he adopted the sobriquet "Wild Bill." In 1940, Columbia inaugurated a feature-length series of Wild Bill Hickok pictures, beginning with Prairie Schooners . The series, which does not accurately portray the historical facts of Hickok's life, consisted of eight films and ended with the 1942 picture Prairie Gunsmoke . All films in the series starred Elliott as Hickok and were produced by Leon Barhsa. In the first films, Dub Taylor played Hickok's sidekick, "Cannonball." Taylor was replaced by Frank Mitchell in the 1942 films Prairie Gunsmoke and The Devil's Trail . In the 1941 picture King of Dodge City , Tex Ritter joined the ensemble. Modern sources add Merrill McCormack and George Morrell to the cast. For more information about the real Hickok, please see the entry above for The Plainsman . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
11 Nov 40
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 40
pp. 8-9.
Variety
13 Nov 40
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Into the Crimson West" by George Cory Franklin in Western Story Magazine (13 Sep 1930).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Into the Crimson West
Release Date:
30 September 1940
Production Date:
26 July--2 August 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 October 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
58
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6659
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Virginia Benton and her foreman, Cannonball, are attempting to stop a group of farmers from lynching Dalton Stull, who is taking advantage of a drought in Kansas to foreclose on loans, when their old friend, Wild Bill Hickok, drifts by. Bill agrees to represent them in peaceful negotiations, but when he fails to affect Stull's position, he suggests that the farmers pay off their debt on their equipment and livestock and move to Colorado. Virginia shares her savings and joins the wagon train. Stull and his partner, Wolf Tanner, believe that the group's destination may jeopardize their lucrative fur business, so they ride ahead, taking guns to the Pawnee. During an attack against the settlers by the Pawnee, Stull takes Virginia hostage. At the Pawnee camp, Bill pleads in vain for the farmers' rights, but Cannonball recognizes Tanner and exposes him as the man who had sold guns to the Sioux, which they had used against the Pawnee. Chief Sanche soon realizes that Stull and Tanner are the enemies of his people and decides to allow the farmers to cross peacefully to Colorado. Although Bill says that he is considering a homestead, Virginia knows he will not give up his ... +


Virginia Benton and her foreman, Cannonball, are attempting to stop a group of farmers from lynching Dalton Stull, who is taking advantage of a drought in Kansas to foreclose on loans, when their old friend, Wild Bill Hickok, drifts by. Bill agrees to represent them in peaceful negotiations, but when he fails to affect Stull's position, he suggests that the farmers pay off their debt on their equipment and livestock and move to Colorado. Virginia shares her savings and joins the wagon train. Stull and his partner, Wolf Tanner, believe that the group's destination may jeopardize their lucrative fur business, so they ride ahead, taking guns to the Pawnee. During an attack against the settlers by the Pawnee, Stull takes Virginia hostage. At the Pawnee camp, Bill pleads in vain for the farmers' rights, but Cannonball recognizes Tanner and exposes him as the man who had sold guns to the Sioux, which they had used against the Pawnee. Chief Sanche soon realizes that Stull and Tanner are the enemies of his people and decides to allow the farmers to cross peacefully to Colorado. Although Bill says that he is considering a homestead, Virginia knows he will not give up his wanderlust. +

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.