Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Santa Fe Trail


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Movie Info

Santa Fe Trail, Errol Flynn's third western, has precisely nothing to do with the titular trail. Instead, the film is a simplistic retelling of the John Brown legend, with Raymond Massey playing the famed abolitionist. The events leading up to the bloody confrontation between Brown and the US Army at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, are treated in a painstakingly even-handed fashion: Brown's desire to free the slaves is "right" but his methods are "wrong." Whenever the leading characters are asked … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Buckner
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 10, 1999


as Jeb Stuart

as "Kit Carson" Hollida...

as John Brown

as George Custer

as Barefoot Brody

as Rader

as Cyrus Holliday

as Bob Holliday

as Harlan

as Jason Brown

as Oliver Brown

as Robert E. Lee

as Jefferson Davis

as Charlotte Davis

as Maj. Sumner

as Phil Sheridan

as James Longstreet

as George Pickett

as John Hood

as Shubel Morgan

as Kitzmiller

as Barber Doyle

as Conductor

as Townley

as Weiner

as J. Boyce Russell

as Instructor

as Sergeant

as Lieutenant

as Officer

as Officer

as Officer

as Engineer

as Engineer

as Farmer's Wife

as Adjutant

as Abolitionist

as Army Doctor

as Surveyor

as Agitator

as Burned Out Townsman

as Officer's Wife

as Dispatch Rider

as Telegraph Operator

as Townsman
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Critic Reviews for Santa Fe Trail

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | July 10, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Racist and reactionary tripe whose closest relative is "Gone with the Wind".

Full Review… | April 10, 2012

Rousing John Brown story is really worth it with Reagan and Flynn.

October 14, 2005

Revels in its inaccuracies.

Full Review… | April 13, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Santa Fe Trail

Semi fictional account of Bleeding Kansas and the pursuit of John Brown is skilled filmmaking but useless as any kind of historical document. Still for fans of Flynn and the Warner stock company an enjoyable enterprise. Olivia's part is negilible, as far as her films with Errol go she's seen to much better advantage in Dodge City.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

along w/ the always magnetic flynn and de havilland pairing, and costarring an unforgettable ex-president, this curious pre-ww2 piece about the pre-civil war (or "the wo-ah between the states!" as granny clampett used to quip) days is curiously and definitively southern in politics, altho that in no way detracts from the stirring action. max steiner contributes a rousing score, but raymond massey's john brown is the hot engine that drives this car.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

New West Point graduates (including George Custer played by dapper Ronald Regan) are assigned duty at Ft Leavenworth, KS. Its the 1850s, so this is dangerous territory. Its the fanatical rebel Christian abolitionist John Brown (who may as well be the Isis commander), not Indians, who cause trouble for the expansion of the railroad line to New Mexico. A lot of name actors (Errol Flynn playing Jeb Stuart was another), enough comedic lines (mostly from a duo of drunks), and a romantic sub-story (with a "refined" lady from Boston who plays two men [as they do]) helped to ensure this was a major hit for the studio at the time. My issue with this film was the very nationalistic "my country, right or wrong" subtext of the film. I am sure its 1940 release date had a lot to do with that as there was a large divide in the country at the time, with many not wanting to get involved in an unpopular war. I have much ambivalence towards this film (more so than I've had about any other film in a long time), but they did show free-staters in a positive light. Also, despite its title, it had very little to do with the "Trail," since the story followed Brown to Boston and then to Virginia.


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