The Treasure of Lost Canyon


1h 22m 1952

Brief Synopsis

Young David, orphaned en route to California, falls into the hands of medicine-show rascal Baltimore Dan. Years later, now a trained thief, he's adopted by eccentric 'Doc' Brown, retired miner and pharmacist. Doc and David become fast friends in their scenic outdoor rambles. But when they discover a hidden treasure, the idyllic interlude gives way to more troubles and a strange coincidence.

Film Details

Also Known As
Robert Louis Stevenson's The Treasure of Lost Canyon, The Treasure of Franchard
Release Date
Mar 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Feather River, California, United States; McArthur-Burney Falls Park, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Treasure of Franchard" by Robert Louis Stevenson in Longman's Magazine (Apr 1883).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

In 1870, drunken con man Baltimore Dan and his sons, Paddy and Gyppo, meet the upper-class Ben Brown and his young son David on a stage to Sacramento. After a random gunshot causes Ben to die of a heart attack, Dan spies an envelope instructing whoever reads it to deliver the letter and David to Ben's cousin, lawyer Lucius Cooke. Dan steals David's necklace, which bears half of a coin, and brings the boy to Cooke. When Cooke reads that Ben wants him to bring David to his brother, who will then control his whole fortune, the greedy lawyer pays Dan to take David away. Years later, the now ten-year-old David is forced to help the cruel Dan and his sons steal wallets and sell a phony "elixir." In one town, an angry mob chases Dan and David into a barn, where Dan has a heart attack. The barn's owner calls in local scientist and lovable eccentric Doc Homer Brown, who cannot help the dying man. Homer spies David hiding in the barn and is impressed by the boy's quick wit. The next day, Homer is surprised to find that David has followed him to his idyllic farmhouse. As David tells his story of how he has been forced to steal and lie, Homer recognizes in the boy his own lively spirit and talent for philosophy. He informs his overjoyed wife Samuella that they have adopted David and his dog, Toby. When the Browns try to adopt David legally, however, their cousin, Cooke, hears about Baltimore Dan and realizes who David is, and so attempts to block the adoption by "investigating" David's past. At home, David questions Samuella about why Homer works on a medical encyclopedia, and she reveals that Homer once struck gold but gambled away most of the money in San Francisco. Later that day, Homer shows David Mt. Franchard, which is rumored to have a bottomless pit under its waterfall and treasure in its caves. Homer, however, swears that he does not want treasure because it corrupts and turns brother against brother, and makes David swear to stop him if he ever tries to return to San Francisco. They stop to picnic and as Homer naps, David climbs into the caves and discovers treasure. When Homer sees the chest full of diamonds and gold, he immediately becomes crazed with greed, and David later watches sadly as Homer and Samuella celebrate and plan their trip to San Francisco. The next morning, the treasure has disappeared, and Cooke forces David to admit that he has thrown the chest into the falls. Soon after, Gyppo and Paddy kidnap David, but Homer's young friend, law student Jim Anderson, chases and jails them. As Jim tries to question them, David, who wants nothing more than to please his new parents, accidentally sets the house on fire while attempting a science experiment. The house and Homer's encyclopedia are ruined, and when the always-honest David admits that he is to blame, Homer forgives him. Cooke soon informs his cousin, however, that the money he has been investing for the Browns is gone, and Homer despondently reproaches David, who runs away. As Homer and Samuella wait tearfully for the boy to return, Jim arrives and informs them that Gyppo and Paddy were hired by Cooke, who has been embezzling from them for years. Jim hands David's recovered pendant to Homer, who matches it to his own necklace, prompting him and Samuella to realize that David is their nephew. Just then, Toby arrives to lead Homer to David, who has collapsed on the shore of the falls. The boy revives and reveals to Homer that he has dragged the treasure chest up from the water. Homer, who now knows that David is his real treasure, vows to give the riches to the local minister.

Film Details

Also Known As
Robert Louis Stevenson's The Treasure of Lost Canyon, The Treasure of Franchard
Release Date
Mar 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Feather River, California, United States; McArthur-Burney Falls Park, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Treasure of Franchard" by Robert Louis Stevenson in Longman's Magazine (Apr 1883).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The Treasure of Franchard. The title card reads: "Robert Louis Stevenson's The Treasure of Lost Canyon." The story opens with a statement that reads: "Scenes at McArthur-Burney Falls Park by courtesy of the California State Park Commission." Other scenes were shot on location in Feather River country. Universal borrowed William Powell from M-G-M to star in this film. A Hollywood Reporter news item includes Dusty Henley in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Stevenson's story was first adapted for the television program "Your Showtime" in 1949. It was directed by Sobey Martin and starred Alan Reed.