Cast & Crew
In 1874, Tom Doane and Bill Hatch work for trader Clark Sprague, who makes most of his money from selling buffalo skins. Tom is engaged to Milly Fayre, whose brutal stepfather, Randall Jett, has other than a fatherly interest in her. Jett's gang, while disguised as Indians, has been attacking and stealing wagons carrying buffalo hides. A wagon driven by Tom's friend Jude Pilchuck is attacked by what seem to be Indians, but Tom comes along to rescue him and the robbers escape. Jude realizes Jett is behind the robberies after he finds a tire rim from one of Jett's wagons. Milly and Tom plan to marry one night, but Jett takes her hostage and decamps. Tom angrily follows their wagons and tries to rescue Milly, but Jett brutally beats him unconscious, and ties him to his horse. Tom and his horse arrive at Sprague's, and Jude tends to Tom's injuries as they drive to find buffalo. After a month, Tom is unable to forget Milly, although they successfully skin thousands of buffalo. One of their men is robbed and killed by Jett's gang when he rides back to town with the hides. The Indian tribes on whose land the white men are hunting view the decimated buffalo herds with disgust, and band together to declare war against the killers. Smiley, a fellow hunter, warns Sprague and Tom of the dangers of both the Indians and an oncoming snowstorm, and they pack up to return to town. Meanwhile at Jett's camp, his violent wife Jane murders two of the gang who attempt to steal hides, then, although she is jealous of Milly, defends her from Jett, in a fight which results in both her own death and Jett's. Tom then rescues Milly just before she is trampled in a buffalo stampede. On their return to town, they see Sprague's wagon train attacked by Indians and ride for Smiley's help. Smiley rallies his wagon train, and together, the two wagon trains fight off their attackers. After a terrible battle, the Indians depart, and Tom and Milly are safe together.
The title on the screen was Buffalo Stampede, however, the credits note that the title was "formerly Thundering Herd." Although copyright records indicate Paramount had to receive permission from the U.S. government to round up buffalo to be used in this film, a Variety review notes that the buffalo hunt scenes seem to be gleaned from 1920s footage. The footage May be from the 1925 Famous Players-Lasky Corp. film The Thundering Herd, based on the same source, directed by William K. Howard and starring Jack Holt and Lois Wilson, and Raymond Hatton as "Jude Pilchuk" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5710). Some scenes were filmed on location at Lone Pine, CA, according to copyright records.