|Key Cast||John Wayne, Marguerite Churchill, Tully Marshall, Tyrone Power|
|MPAA Rating||Not Rated|
|Film Type||Black & White|
|Genre(s)||Western, Adventure, Romance|
“The Big Trail” stars John Wayne in his first major movie role.
While searching for the killers of his trapper friend, Breck Coleman (John Wayne) decides to help lead a wagon train on a 2000 mile journey from Missouri to Oregon. The arduous journey is evident as the pioneers battle Indian attacks, hunt buffalo, ford a river, and dismantle their wagons in order to heave them down a mountain.
The real reason Breck Coleman decides to help on the difficult journey is because he suspects that the wagon train leader, Red Flack (Tyrone Power Sr.) and his friends murdered his trapper friend. Coleman is determined to find out for sure if they are the killers and bring them to justice. In the meantime, Red Flack figures out that Coleman suspects him of murder, so he and his associates continually try to figure out covert ways to kill Coleman on the trail.
Love enters the picture when Breck Coleman falls in love with the beautiful Ruth Cameron (Marguerite Churchill). Always trying to win her affection, she doesn’t seem to have the same interest in him. Plus, there is another man in the caravan who is interested in her, too.
Filmed entirely on location in over five states, “The Big Trail” takes you on a long, hard wagon train ride to the Pacific Northwest and showcases the early acting talent of western legend John Wayne.
• Raoul Walsh is best remembered as a director, because of the many classically famous movies that he directed. However, Walsh began his career as an actor and, as such, it was his intention to star in “The Big Trail” as Breck Coleman. Unfortunately, Walsh was in a terrible accident that cost him an eye, so he had to abandon his desire to star in the film. Instead, at the prompting of director John Ford, Walsh tested a young actor named John Wayne and decided to give the role to him. This was a mixed blessing for John Wayne because “The Big Trail” was a financial disappointment at the box office, and the reason for the failure was blamed on Wayne. This sidetracked John Wayne’s career and led to him spending the next ten years making B western pictures. History has redeemed Wayne for the failure of this movie, and it is now believed that “The Big Trail” was a box office failure because it was made with a film technology that very few theatres could show at the time.
• At the advent of sound motion pictures, it was common for movie studios to make copies of movies in different languages. Thus, Fox also made Spanish, French, German and Italian language versions of “The Big Trail.”
• This was actor Tyrone Power Sr.’s last film. (He plays the role of Red Flack.) He died of a heart attack just one year after making “The Big Trail.” Tyrone Power had a long, distinguished career as an actor, having appeared in 41 films during his lifetime. The acting tradition continued in his family with his son Tyrone Power Jr., in whose arms Tyrone Power Sr. died.
• “The Big Trail” was originally 158 minutes long when it was released in 70mm film. The western was reduced to 125 minutes in length when it was switched to 35mm film.
• This is the first epic style Western to be made during the talkie era.
• “The Big Trail” was selected in 2006 to the Library of Congress National Film Registry. This special honor is bestowed to only 25 movies per year.
The Big Trail Movie DVD
John Wayne’s first major starring role was in this classic western “The Big Trail.” He stars a Breck Coleman, a man who becomes part of a wagon train heading west because he believes the people who killed his friend are part of the train.
He becomes smitten with a female traveler named Ruth Cameron (Marguerite Churchill), but he will have to do a lot to win her affection.
The Big Trail
This Blu-ray disc version of John Wayne’s movie “The Big Trail” not only has a high-quality, digitally-remastered copy of the western, but also many bonus features.
Some of the bonus material on this disc are:
• The Making Of The Big Trail featurette
• A commentary By Film Historian/Author Richard Schickel
• The Big Vision – The Grandeur Process
• The Creation Of John Wayne
• Raoul Walsh: A Man In His Time
DVD Set - John Wayne- The Fox Westerns Collection
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