The Oregon Trail


Action / Western

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

John Carradine Photo
John Carradine as Zachariah Garrison
Henry Hull Photo
Henry Hull as George Seton
Fred MacMurray Photo
Fred MacMurray as Neal Harris
Gloria Talbott Photo
Gloria Talbott as Shona Hastings
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
710.3 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 0 / 1
1.36 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 1 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer3 / 10

Obviously this film was not written by a history professor!

An anachronism is something that appears in the wrong time period. For example, if you see jet planes fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg...that would be a serious anachronism. However, sometimes these anachronisms aren't that obvious and make their way into movies. In the case of "The Oregon Trail", it is chock full of many that you cannot believe that the writers did any research at all to make sure they were getting the facts right. And, for an ex-history teacher like me, it's really annoying!

Let's mention some of the many anachronisms in this film. The movie talks about the new 'Colt revolver' and show the soldiers using them in 1846. But Samuel Colt didn't make his prototype revolver in 1847 and didn't even open up his own company until there would have been no Colt revolvers in 1846. The same goes for the repeating rifles you see in the movie...they didn't come out until about 1860 and were very rare even then....but the natives and soldiers all seem to have them! And, it's not just about one point Fred MacMurray's character talks about sending a telegraph from out west to his employers on the East Coast. But the telegraph was never used until 1844 and telegraph wires didn't make it West until a decade later.

But anachronisms aren't the only problem in the film. President Polk had long hair and styled it in a mullet....but here he's nearly as bald as Kojak! And, often characters do things that simply make no sense...such as MacMurray's character defending a thief even when it's obvious the guy is stealing as well as his crazy fight with the guy with a whip early in the movie. The nasty guy is whipping the snot out of people and Fred is literally standing NEXT to the guy. But instead of socking him then, he backs up...thus allowing the whipper to whip him!! Who is THAT stupid??!! Fred....when you are standing NEXT to a guy with a whip, he cannot use it on you....get it?! Apparently not. Such is the care the writers and director took in making this film. And these little details are why I was not enthralled with this movie.

If you care, here is the plot: Fred plays Neal Harris, a reporter from back East. There's a rumor that President Polk is sending soldiers disguised as settlers into the disputed Oregon Territory. He heads there in a wagon train to determine if the rumor is true. Along the way, there's a lot of nonsense and really, really bombastic music!

Overall, this is a sloppy film and one I'd just as soon skip. There are far better westerns and far better Fred MacMurray films out there!

Reviewed by weezeralfalfa6 / 10

Missed opportunity to present a realistic epic journey

This could have been a reasonably realistic epic of a typical wagon train journey from Westport, Missouri to the Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, the vision of the script writer was myopic. In some respects, it's accurate. J.G. Bennett was an influential newspaperman of this era, founding the New York Herald. There was a dispute between the US and Britain over the northern boundary of the Oregon Territory, and this was settled in 1846: the year this wagon train rolled over the prairie. The imminent war with Mexico was an important consideration in settling this dispute quickly and peacefully. Samuel Colt's 6 shooter revolver, a shipment to Fort Laramie being dramatized, was available in 1846. A large order for this weapon was sent by the army in preparation for a war with Mexico. Probably, considerable numbers of soldiers in frontier forts were re-assigned to the Mexican War, but I doubt that the forts were left virtually defenseless, as dramatized.

On the other hand, I saw only horses pulling the wagons, whereas historically, they pulled only a small percentage of overland wagons, in contrast to the larger Conestoga freight wagons of the East.. Oxen were the preferred draft animals unless time was of the essence. Those trains that left late in the good traveling season often used mules, because they were faster. Also, participants, except for the very young and infirm, seldom rode in the wagon. That added weight to what the stock had to pull and was very uncomfortable with the rough roads and lack of shock absorbers... The climax of the film is a raid on Fort Laramie by a substantial number of Indians. Historically, this was very unlikely, especially in broad daylight. Indians very rarely attacked well built and defended forts. What was their motive for such an attack? We have no idea, other than whites were crossing their territory. As long as they moved on, no problem. They might even want to do some trading. Then again, they might want to steal some things. In this case, perhaps they knew the fort had few army defenders, thus might be vulnerable. But, all those wagons couldn't have fit in the fort, so many must have been outside, but we didn't see any. The Indians should have attacked them instead of the fort. In fact ,especially in the early years of mass migrations, Indians very seldom attacked substantial wagon trains, except maybe stragglers. Over a 20 year period, it's documented that only 360 emigrants died from Indian attacks, and that 90% of those killings occurred west of South Pass, to which this wagon train never made it during the film. Out of an estimated 20,000 deaths during this travel, a mere 2% are attributed to Indian attacks. The main documented causes of death included being run over by wagon wheels or trampled by livestock, accidental firing of firearms, drowning in crossing rivers, and various diseases, especially cholera. All of these could have easily been included in the film instead of an Indian attack. Children and the elderly were the most frequent victims

There has been criticism by several reviewers about the Indian maiden Shona(Gloria Talbott) renouncing her Indian identity, near the end of the film. Remember that her father was a European, and was killed in the Indian attack. Her mother apparently was also dead. Thus, she felt free to marry whomever she chose, which was Harris(Fred MacMurray). True, at age 51, he seemed a little old for an Indian maiden, but he had no objections. Perhaps she was also angry that the Indians attacked the fort for no apparent reason. At the same time, Harris renounced his association with his newspaper, in favor of becoming a settler with Shona.

In conclusion, this film could have presented the events of a typical wagon train much more realistically, without the obligatory Indian attack, and including the last half of the journey. To do so, it would need to have been nearly twice as long.

Reviewed by davidjanuzbrown9 / 10

Good Movie

I actually liked this movie better then some of the posters. It is important to NOT look at this movie in terms of 2016. Why is that? For example:One of the biggest complaints about this movie was about the 1/2 white 1/2 Indian girl Shona Hastings ( Gloria Talbott) renouncing her people. Keep in mind why did she? Seeing the pleasure on certain people's faces like her father's when small children die is the reason why. What they did was not about a military objective it was actually enjoying killing. As for her father, Gabe (John Dierkes),his guy did not "Go Native" to use a British term that a poster used. This guy hated people, and the Indians just gave him the means and opportunity to inflict hurt on others as opposed to preferring a lifestyle or favoring some cause ( right or wrong). If you watch the movie and see how her father treated her ( like a savage) you will see he had no love for her. Spoilers Ahead: Did she choose Neal Harris ( Fred MacMurray) when she saved him after being tied up? Yes she did but that was a personal choice she made. The reason she did was Neal treated her with kindness, decency and respect which no one else did. That act is what saved everyone from getting killed ( not just MacMurray). Is it a great movie? No but well worth watching ( although I suspect it will be hard to find because certain people will not like it) 9/10 Stars.

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