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Blazing the Overland Trail

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blazing the Overland Trail
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySpencer Gordon Bennet
Screenplay byGeorge H. Plympton
Story byGeorge H. Plympton
Produced bySam Katzman
StarringLee Roberts
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byEarl Turner
Color processBlack and white
Sam Katzman Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 4, 1956 (1956-08-04)
Running time
(15 episodes)
CountryUnited States

Blazing the Overland Trail is a 1956 American western serial film directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and starring Lee Roberts. It was the 57th and last serial produced by Columbia Pictures, and the last American serial ever produced for theaters. Universal Pictures had disbanded its serial unit in 1946 with The Mysterious Mr. M, and Republic Pictures had ceased serial production in 1955 with King of the Carnival.

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Rance Devlin intends to build his own empire in the American West, using his gang of masked horsemen "the Black Raiders" and his alliance with savage Indians to do so. Only U.S. Army scout Tom Bridger, allied with Pony Express rider Ed Marr and U.S. Army cavalry Captain Frank Carter, can stop him.



Columbia had been releasing three serials annually; in 1952 this was adjusted to two new ones and a reissue of an old one. Serial producer Sam Katzman was still making entirely new science-fiction and action serials, with original stories and fresh supporting casts. In 1954, however, Katzman cut back drastically on production. Still obligated to produce two new serials per year, he economized severely, taking entire chunks out of older serials and filming new scenes around them -- hiring fewer actors, and even bringing back some of the same actors who had appeared in the circa-1940 footage.

Blazing the Overland Trail is the last of these patchworks, relying heavily on major sequences from two older serials, White Eagle and Overland with Kit Carson. Lee Roberts is costumed to match old footage of Buck Jones, and Dennis Moore is dressed to match even older shots of Bill Elliott. New shots are noticeably cheap, with only two or three people on camera (while the old stock shots have entire ensembles).

Unlike many long-running series that were abruptly canceled without advance notice, Columbia and Katzman had definitely agreed that Blazing the Overland Trail would be the final serial. Thereafter, Columbia began reissuing its older serials to theaters, at the same pace of three per year. Columbia discontinued its three-per-year schedule in 1965, although its revival of the Batman serial was extremely successful and inspired the Batman television series.

Chapter titles

  1. Gun Emperor of the West
  2. Riding the Danger Trail
  3. The Black Riders
  4. Into the Flames
  5. Trapped in the Runaway Wagon
  6. Rifles for Redskins
  7. Midnight Attack
  8. Blast at Gunstock Pass
  9. War at the Wagon Camp
  10. Buffalo Stampede
  11. Into the Fiery Blast
  12. Cave-in
  13. Bugle Call
  14. Blazing Peril
  15. Raiders Unmasked


See also


  1. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 257. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.

External links

Preceded by Columbia Serial
Blazing the Overland Trail (1956)
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 23 May 2024, at 20:20
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