Santa Fe Trail


Adventure / Biography / Drama / History / Romance / War / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 51%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 3409


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 29, 2021 at 10:52 AM



Olivia de Havilland as 'Kit Carson' Holliday
Errol Flynn as Jeb Stuart
Raymond Massey as John Brown
1006.59 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 3 / 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 5 / 10

In The Tradition of Gone With the Wind

When Santa Fe Trail was released in 1940 it was to general critical acclaim. Though it is in no way a classic like Gone With the Wind, it's view of the coming Civil War is not too dissimilar from the David O. Selznick film that also had Olivia DeHavilland as one of its stars. It was a popularly held view of the time, the abolitionists were well intentioned rabble rousers who brought on the Civil War and as Errol Flynn as J.E.B. Stuart says, the south will settle the slavery issue in its own time.

Back in the day even in A westerns like Santa Fe Trail, liberal use of the facts involving noted historical figures was taken. The fact that Stuart, Custer, Longstreet, Pickett, Sheridan, and Hood would all graduate West Point in the same class was really a minor bending of the rules. The following year with Errol Flynn as Custer in They Died With Their Boots On, they got Custer's graduation class right, but then compounded his life with more errors.

One interesting fact that no one mentions in this film is Henry O'Neill as the real life Cyrus K. Holliday (1826-1900) who considerably outlived just about everyone portrayed in the film. He's of critical importance in Kansas history as having built the Santa Fe railroad. His children neither went to West Point as William Lundigan, did graduating with all these Civil War heroes, nor did his daughter wind up marrying one.

Olivia DeHavilland playing her usual heroine, gets out of the crinoline for a bit as a Calamity Jane type daughter to Henry O'Neill. I have to say she showed quite a bit more spunk than her normal range of leading ladies at the time at Warner Brothers. She certainly Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan as George A. Custer on their toes.

If people remember anything at all about Santa Fe Trail today it is Raymond Massey as the fanatical John Brown. Yet even there, Brown has his hypocritical moments when he's quite ready to let a barn full of recent runaway slaves burn down so he can kill Errol Flynn in it. It doesn't ring true with the character as defined by Massey, I fault the scriptwriters there. Massey repeated his John Brown character in the later Seven Men From Now. Other than Abraham Lincoln it is the role that actor is most identified with.

As an action western though, Santa Fe Trail can't be beat. The battle scene with the army breaking John Brown's siege at Harper's Ferry is well staged. You really do think you are at Harper's Ferry watching a newsreel.

Though it never was history and hasn't worn well in its interpretation, western fans will still like Santa Fe Trail.

Reviewed by mbuchwal 9 / 10

A powerful movie too interested in the truth to take sides.

"Santa Fe Trail" is like the doubloon nailed to the mainmast in the novel "Moby Dick": how you interpret it depends on your point of view. Some viewers will see it as a tribute to the chivalrous values of the pre-civil war military establishment, which was dominated by southern aristocrats like General Robert E. Lee, while others may see it mainly as the tragic saga of the anti-slavery martyrs of Harper's Ferry, whose self-sacrifice brought on the war to free the slaves. Cavalry officer Jeb Stuart seems either gallant and nobly courageous, or like a pompous martinet, while abolitionist John Brown is a violence loving madman, or one of the most dedicated and selfless heroes of all time. This exciting, action-packed movie refuses to take sides but permits the viewer to make his own decisions about the important themes presented.

What about its use of history, though, which has vexed so many critics? Like any great mythopoeic work, "Santa Fe Trail" should be judged not as historical record but as a legend or myth that tells universal truths. Historicism, which in movie criticism is the theory that all works should be judged by the standard of recorded history, has not enjoyed much favor among the most respected experts on the subject of art. Were this not so, the "Iliad," "Macbeth" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" would long ago have been rejected as false history, because not one of them is faithful to many of the known facts deemed so important by historicist critics.

Judged on its own terms and from the perspective of facts that have proved true not just in one place and time but in many places and in many periods of history, then "Santa Fe Trail" is a classic in the best sense, and thrilling entertainment too. Like all war movies that are any good, it is a powerful anti-war movie.

Reviewed by bsmith5552 6 / 10

Rousing Pre-Civil War Actioner

"Santa Fe Trail" takes place in the 1850s as the America moved toward Civil War. It's mainly about the activities of self-proclaimed slave abolitionist John Brown and his efforts to provoke a war between the North and South.

The film begins in 1854 at West Point where a number of historical figures who would play prominent roles in the Civil War, are about to graduate. Leading the pack are JEB Stuart (Errol Flynn) and George Armstrong Custer (Ronald Reagan). Robert E. Lee (Moroni Olsen) is the Commandant of West Point and Jefferson Davis (Erville Anders) is the Minister of War. John Brown (Raymond Massey) is conducting bloody raids all over Kansas and has placed an operative, Rader (Van Heflin) within West Point. Stuart and Custer meanwhile, foil Rader and are competing for the affections of Kit Carson Holliday (Olivia de Havilland) the daughter of railroad magnate Cyrus K. Holliday (Henry O'Neill) who hopes to extend the railroad to New Mexico along, you guessed it, the Santa Fe Trail.

There is some very good action sequences ably directed by Michael Curtiz. Future Cvil War adversaries fight side by side against Brown and his followers but are coming to realize that the issue of slavery will not die with Brown.

Raymond Massey steals the acting honors as Brown the slightly mad but dedicated revolutionary. Flynn, Reagan and DeHavilland form the usual love triangle that always seemed to be a staple of the Warner Bros. westerns of the period. Alan Hale and Guinn Williams are along to provide the comedy relief. Heflin in an early role, is also excellent as Rader who seems to have his own agenda.

Also in the cast mostly unbilled, are Alan Baxter, Joseph Sawyer and for "B" movie fans, Charles Middleton, Trevor Bardette, Lane Chandler, Lafe McKee and Roy Barcroft (if you blink you'll miss him).

There's plenty of action and romance to keep the die-hard western fan happy. One of the better Warner Bros. "A" westerns of the period.

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