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Wagon Wheels

Wagon Wheels

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Wagon Wheels, The trio of Belmet, Burch, and O’Meary are leading a wagon train west and Murdock is out to stop them. The settlers fight off his initial Indian attack and reach the mountains. With the wagon train vulnerable as it crosses a river, Murdock has the Indians make a final attack.

Excellent western from 1934

Wagon Wheels is a really enjoyable old western to watch. Set in the year 1844, any viewer will find humor, music, drama, suspense, romance, and excellent acting throughout the cast. It is also a superb depiction of some of the elements, and especially equipment that beset an 1840’s wagon train heading west. The ensemble actors had a keen sense of playing their roles in a manner depicting that previous period. Randolph Scott leads the players, where he is heroic, valiant of character, and sagacious of spirit. . .while his easy natural ways are endearing. Beautiful Gail Patrick is perfect for her role as a widowed mother taking a 4 year old son west. Her little boy, played by Billy Lee, is one of the great child actors ever, and gives a wonderful performance here. The 3 men leading the wagon west (Randolph Scott & 2 grizzled characters) have a real challenge defeating the elements that fall upon them. I don’t want to give the whole story away, only to say I’ve seen a whole lot of westerns, and this one is one of the most enjoyable to me.

Randolph Scott Sings


One of about twenty Zane Grey novels filmed by Paramount from 1930-1940, WAGON WHEELS is a remake of FIGHTING CARAVAN, a movie about the Oregon Trail. It’s definitely a B movie, with its running time under an hour, plenty of library footage to give it some size, Charles Barton sitting in the director’s chair for the first time and singing to eke it out — Even Randolph Scott warbles a couple of lines of the title song.

It’s worth seeing for Scott in an early western. His first appearance in one had been a bit part in THE VIRGINIAN, but since his success in WILD HORSE MESA and THE THUNDERING HERD, Paramount had been giving him one or two oaters a year, in between the usual assortment of comedies, dramas and even lending him to other studios for musicals. He’s solid here, opposite Gail Patrick, with some good support from Raymond Hatton as an old Mountain Man. However, it’s still an okay B movie, even if he would do great things in the genre over the next three decades.

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