To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Big Trail
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Screenplay byJack Peabody
Marie Boyle
Florence Postal
Fred Serser
Story byHal G. Evarts
Based onThe California and Oregon Trail
1849 book
by Francis Parkman, Jr.
Produced byRaoul Walsh
StarringJohn Wayne
Marguerite Churchill
El Brendel
CinematographyLucien Andriot
Arthur Edeson
Edited byJack Dennis
Music by(all uncredited)
R. H. Bassett
Peter Brunelli
Alfred Dalby
Arthur Kay
Jack Virgil
Fox Film Corporation
Distributed byFox Film Corporation
Release date
  • November 1, 1930 (1930-11-01)
Running time
122 min. 70mm version
108 min. 35mm version
CountryUnited States

The Big Trail is a 1930 American pre-Code Western early widescreen film shot on location across the American West starring 23-year-old John Wayne in his first leading role and directed by Raoul Walsh. It is the final completed film to feature Tyrone Power Sr. before his death in 1931, as well as his only sound role.

In 2006, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, saying "the plot of a trek along the Oregon Trail is aided immensely by the majestic sweep provided by the experimental 70mm Grandeur wide-screen process used in filming".[2][3][4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    44 584
    108 050
    79 555
    31 908
    4 057
  • Full Film,John Wayne, BIG TRAIL 70mm wide screen 1930
  • John Wayne's Coolest Scenes #34: Not My Friend, "The Big Trail" (1930)
  • The Big Trail - John Wayne (1930)
  • The Big Trail Trailer 1930
  • TCM Star of the Month John Wayne 01of19 The Big Trail (Intro)



A large caravan of settlers attempt to cross the Western United States on the Oregon Trail. Breck Coleman is a young trapper who just got back to Missouri from his travels near Santa Fe, seeking to avenge the death of an old trapper friend who was killed the winter before along the Santa Fe Trail for his furs, by Red Flack and his minion Lopez. At a large trading post owned by a man named Wellmore, Coleman sees Flack and suspects him right away as being one of the killers. Flack likewise suspects Coleman as being somebody who knows too much about the killing. Coleman is asked by a large group of settlers to scout their caravan west, and declines, until he learns that Flack and Lopez were just hired by Wellmore to boss a bull train along the as-yet-unblazed Oregon Trail to a trading post in northern Oregon Territory (which at the time extended into current British Columbia), owned by another Missouri fur trader. Coleman agrees to scout for the train, so he can keep an eye on the villains and kill them as soon as they reach their destination. The caravan of settlers in their covered wagons follow Wellmore's ox-drawn train of Conestoga wagons, as the first major group of settlers to move west on the Oregon Trail. Along the way the wagon train is attacked by a horde of Indians on horseback, wearing headdresses.

Coleman finds love with young Ruth Cameron, whom he'd kissed accidentally, mistaking her for somebody else. Unwilling to accept her attraction toward him, Ruth gets rather close to a gambler acquaintance of Flack's, who joined the trail after being caught cheating. Coleman and Flack have to lead the settlers west, while Flack does everything he can to have Coleman killed before he finds any proof of what he'd done. The three villains' main reason for going west is to avoid the hangman's noose for previous crimes, and all three receive frontier justice instead. The settlers trail ends in an unnamed valley, where Coleman and Ruth finally settle down together amidst giant redwoods.


Cast publicity photos
Tully Marshall and Churchill


Reputedly (the claim is unconfirmed) the initial script, then called "The Oregon Trail", was first offered to director John Ford who then passed it on to his friend Raoul Walsh.[5]

For the film, Walsh employed 93 actors and used as many as 725 natives from five different Indian tribes. He also obtained 185 wagons, 1,800 cows, 1,400 horses, 500 buffalos and 700 chickens, pigs and dogs for the production of the film.[6]


The shoot lasted from April 20 to August 20, 1930,[5] and was filmed in seven states.[6] The film was shot in an early widescreen process called 70 mm Grandeur film, which was first used in the film Fox Movietone Follies of 1929.[2] Grandeur was used by the Fox Film Corporation for a handful of films released in 1929 and 1930, of which The Big Trail was the last.[7] Grandeur proved financially unviable for an industry still investing in the switch to talking pictures.[8]

The scene of the wagon train drive across the country was pioneering in its use of camera work and the depth and view of the epic landscape.[citation needed] An effort was made to lend authenticity to the movie, with the wagons drawn by oxen instead of horses – they were lowered by ropes down canyons when necessary for certain shots in narrow valleys.[9] Tyrone Power Sr.'s character's clothing looks realistically grimy, and even the food supplies the 'immigrants' carried with them in their wagons were thoroughly researched. Locations in five states, starting from New Mexico to California, were used to film the caravan's 2,000-mile (3,200 km) trek.[citation needed]

Release and reception

After shooting, the film was previewed to select audiences and generally released in October 1930. "Often the scenes" in the film, wrote Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times "cause one to marvel at their naturalness and beauty. It has a thunderstorm that looks as real as the land, water and sky that confront one throughout this production".[10] According to Hall, in one sequence, featuring a native American attack, "suddenly it seems as though one were tugged from one's seat and thrown in front of the charging horses, which appear to plunge from the screen and disappear into the velvety darkness of the theatre".[10]

After the box-office failure of the film due to the Depression stopping theatres from investing in widescreen technology, Wayne was only cast in low-budget serials and features (mostly Poverty Row Westerns); although his name was billed above the title in dozens of movies in the 1930s. He enjoyed a large following, especially in the South, but it took Wayne's role in Stagecoach (1939) for him to become a mainstream performer again.[11]

The two versions

John Wayne in The Big Trail

Beyond the format difference, the 70mm and 35mm versions vary substantially from each other. They were shot by different cameras, and footage for each format was edited separately in the cutting room. Some scenes were shot simultaneously by both cameras, the only difference being the angle (with the better angle usually given to the 70mm camera). Some scenes were shot first by one camera, and then retaken with the other camera. The 70mm cameras could not focus well up close, so their shots were mainly panoramas with very few close-ups. The 35mm cameras could move in and focus at short distances. Thus, scenes in the 70mm version might show two characters talking to each other in the same take, making greater use of the widescreen frame, while the 35mm version would have close-up shots cutting back and forth between the two characters. This may have been an artistic choice as much as a technical one. The cinematographer responsible for the 70mm version of the picture, Arthur Edeson, wrote in the September 1930 issue of American Cinematographer: "Grandeur reduces the number of close-ups considerably, as the figures are so much larger that semi-close-ups are usually all that is needed".[12]

Critics views

As of 2018, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 100% rating.[13]

Preservation and re-release

A neglected film for many years, it was only seen in the conventional 35mm version for decades.[7] In the early 1980s, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which held the original 70mm nitrate camera negative, wished to preserve the film but found that nitrate decomposition had left it too shrunken and fragile to be copied to safety film, and that no film lab would touch it. Over a year-long project, Karl Malkames, a specialist in film restoration technology, designed and built a special printer to preserve this version of the film.[14] The image on the original negative was transferred to a 35mm anamorphic master.[15]

Dave Kehr wrote for the Chicago Tribune in 1988: "The added richness of resolution and the silvery sheen that the first generation 70 mm. nitrate prints would have provided can only be imagined. And yet, The Big Trail remains an eye-popping experience".[7]

Home media

The 70mm version was finally seen on cable television in the late 1990s. The 35mm version had been released to VHS and DVD previously for several years. A two-disc restored DVD was released in the U.S. on May 13, 2008, featuring the 35- and 70-millimeter versions.[16] A Blu-ray edition featuring the 70-millimeter version was released in September 2012.[17]

The film's copyright was renewed, so the film will not be in the public domain until 2026.[18]

Foreign-language versions

A fairly common practice in the early sound era was to simultaneously produce at least one foreign-language version of a film for release in non-English-speaking countries; an approach later replaced by simply dubbing the dialogue. There were at least four foreign-language versions made of The Big Trail, all filmed in 35mm, 1.20:1 ratio and using different casts and different character names:

Further reading

  • Elyes, Allen. John Wayne. South Brunswick, N.J.: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1979; ISBN 0-498-02487-3.


  1. ^ Luisa Caselotti's younger sister, Adriana Caselotti, was the voice of Snow White in Walt Disney's animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
  2. ^ Villarías is best known for playing the title character in the Spanish-language version of Drácula (1931).
  3. ^ Stevens plays the same part in both the English and Spanish versions of The Big Trail.


  1. ^ Motion Picture News, May 24, 1930
  2. ^ a b "Films Added to National Film Registry for 2006" (Press release). Library of Congress. December 27, 2006. ISSN 0731-3527. The story goes that director Raoul Walsh was seeking a male lead for his new Western and asked his friend John Ford. Ford recommended an unknown actor named John Wayne because he "liked the looks of this new kid with a funny walk, like he owned the world". When Wayne professed inexperience, Walsh told him to just "sit good on a horse and point". The plot of a trek along the Oregon Trail is aided immensely by the majestic sweep provided by the experimental Grandeur wide-screen process used in filming. However, Wayne's starring role in the movie did not lead to stardom. He languished in low-budget pictures until John Ford cast him in the 1939 classic "Stagecoach".
  3. ^ "Librarian of Congress Adds Home Movie, Silent Films and Hollywood Classics to Film Preservation List". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  4. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Moss, Marilyn (2013) [2011]. Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 120. ISBN 978-0813133942.
  6. ^ a b Henry Cabot Beck (July 1, 2008). "Young Wayne Blazed a Big Trail". True West Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Kehr, Dave (June 17, 1988). "Grandeur Still Evident In 1930's The Big Trail". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Silver, Charles (August 10, 2010). "Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail". Museum of Modern Art. New York City. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "American Cinematographer Magazine" – Volume 96 (April 2015). Article: "The Big Trail"
  10. ^ a b Hall, Mordaunt (November 2, 1930). "A Grandeur Production; The Big Trail Has Remarkable Scenes in Pioneer Story of a Century Ago". The New York Times. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  11. ^ McKelvey, Tara (October 9, 2013). "Searching for John Wayne in the Alabama Hills". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Edeson, Arthur (September 1930). "Wide Film Cinematography: Some Comments on 70mm Camerawork From a Practical Cinematographer". American Cinematographer. The Widescreen Museum. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  13. ^ "The Big Trail". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Karl D. Malkames". The Journal News. Westchester, New York. March 10, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  15. ^ Higgins, Steven (2006). Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of The Museum of Modern Art. New York City: The Museum of Modern Art. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-87070-326-3.
  16. ^ 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC,, PO Box 900, Beverly Hills, Ca, copyright 2008
  17. ^ "The Big Trail Blu-ray". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Catalog of Copyright Entries 1957 Motion Pictures and Filmstrips Jan-Dec 3D Ser Vol 11 PTS 12-13". U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1957.

See also

External links

This page was last edited on 9 May 2024, at 10:02
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.