Wagon Wheels


56m 1934

Brief Synopsis

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.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fighting Caravans, Zane Greys Wagon Wheels
Release Date
Sep 14, 1934
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 3 Oct 1934
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Sonora, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey (New York, 1929).

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Synopsis

On May 1, 1840, a wagon train leaves Independence, Missouri, for Oregon, led by old scouts Bill O'Meary and Jim Burch and the young Clint Belmet, whom they reared. Joining them are the beautiful widow Nancy Wellington and her little boy Sonny, whom Nancy kidnapped from her in-laws after they took custody of Sonny when his father died. Clint warns Nancy about the arduous trip West, but she is determined and buys a sturdy rig from the half-Indian fur trapper Kenneth Murdock. Fearing the white man will destroy his prosperous fur trade in the Northwest, Murdock conspires with other trappers to prevent the settlers from reaching Powder River. Meanwhile, the elderly Abby Masters, who is keeping a journal of the trip, falls in love with Jim and records the caravan's two week fight with roving bands of Indians. After the fifth man dies, Murdock tries to convince the train to turn back, but Clint refuses. While Sonny celebrates his fourth birthday, Nancy confides her past to Clint and the two fall silently in love. When the train reaches the Beaver Parks Trading Post, the men spend two weeks drinking and gambling, until Clint, disappearing for four days, spies Murdock conspiring with Indians and rallies the women to force their men back on the trail. When they reach Powder River, the Indians attack; Abby's sister Hetty and scout Bill are killed before Clint sets the kerosene wagon on fire and creates a cloud of smoke, forcing the Indians to retreat. While the hand of Bill's ghost joins them in a pledge, Jim and Clint promise to lead the train safely to Oregon. There Jim and Abby decide to marry, and Clint asks Sonny if he would like him for a father.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fighting Caravans, Zane Greys Wagon Wheels
Release Date
Sep 14, 1934
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 3 Oct 1934
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Sonora, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey (New York, 1929).

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Zane Grey's novel was serialized in Country Gentleman between November 1928 and March 1929. The title card on the viewed print read "Zane Grey's Wagon Wheels." This film's working title was Fighting Caravans, the title of a 1931 Paramount film also based on Zane Grey's story. A modern source states that footage from Fighting Caravans was used in this film. According to press material found in copyright records, portions of this film were shot at the ranch of Al Gatesman, located near Cooperstown, CA, thirty miles from Sonora. The title song for this film was first used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934. Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Pauline Moore, Lew Meehan, Fern Emmett, Clara Lou Sheridan, Harold Goodwin and Howard Wilson.