Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Stagecoach (1939)

by  |  July 27th, 2011  |  Western

Over the years since becoming a major movie fan, and especially in the last decade (since my interest in movies has expanded beyond just a singular interest in a singular genre,) I have found new genres, eras, generations etc… of movies that are really truly awesome! From the first movie ever made called Roundhay Garden Scene (1888), to having seen the first big screen adaption of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which had been made in 1910!

Now those are just a few examples of some great historically important films.  As for genres, I have come to discover or (as is the case of Animation, re-discovered) such validly awesome genres as Westerns, Animation etc…

And Stagecoach (1939) is important for both of those reasons, but we will get in to that in a bit…

Written by: Dudley Nichols (Prince Valiant), Ben Hecht (Circus World) and Directed by: John Ford (The Searchers).  Starring: John Wayne (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), Claire Trevor (Key Largo), Thomas Mitchell (Gone With The Wind).

Stagecoach tells the story of a group of people by the names of Marshal Curley Wilcox (Played by: George Bancroft), Hatfield (Played by John Carradine), Dallas (Trevor), Ringo Kid (Wayne), Dr. Josiah 'Doc' Boone (Mitchell), Samuel Peecock (Played by: Donald Meek), Henry Gatewood (Played by Burton Churchill) and Lucy Mallory (Played by: Louise Platt) as they are traveling on the local stagecoach that is run by Buck (Played by: Andy Devine.)

Now the way these people end up on the same stagecoach together is that a couple of them are being drummed out of town, (as is the example with Dallas (the reason is not explained in the movie) and Doc Boone, who has become such a drunk that he has bankrupted his practice and has to leave town.  Lucy and Mr. Hatfield are traveling together so that they can track down Lucy's husband (who is in the the U.S. Calvary), Samuel Peecock is trying to get home to his family, while Henry is trying to run away from his… And Marshal Wilcox is tracking down Ringo Kid, etc…

The Passangers and Crew Of The Stage Coach as they are existing the Vehicle.

With that said, after they all get on the stage coach they have also been asked by a Calvary unit, to deliver a message (due to downed telegraph lines.)

On the way they pick up Ringo, and the entire group end up traveling from town to town in country that is being ravaged by Apache Indians and their leader Geronimo…

The first town they stop in seems to be fine, but as the group is setting down to their first meal you can clearly see the divisions with in the group, with Hatfield, Lucy and Henry Gatewood unwilling to sit close to

Ringo and Dallas, while they eat. But as they go from town to town you see the group coming closer together to the point where at one point in at one of the stops, Lucy (who has become ill due to her being pregnant) ends up having the group stopping for awhile…

During this time, Ringo and Dallas are getting closer, while Dallas and Doc Boone help Lucy give birth and get her well enough.

With that said as the group makes their way through territory that is being ravaged by the Apache, they will have to set aside their prejudices, hate and anger so that they can all make it to their final destination of Lordsburg in one piece…

A couple of the Passenger's and crew of the Coach as they are repelling the Apache Attack.

Now what I liked about this movie and what I think does make this a fascinating B movie is a couple of things:

1. Like I mentioned above, I have come to discover a whole new realm of historically, and genre based fascinating movies, which this movie has both! (What with this movie being the first film that I have seen from the 1930s as well as the fact that this movie is a Western film (which is a genre that I have only really come to enjoy in the last decade))

2. Also from a purely historical stand point, this movie is really fascinating, because there was still cowboys (albeit mostly aging I should think by that point.)  As a matter of fact, what would be considered to be 'The American Old West' was not that long before this movie, if you consider the old west to have consisted of areas west of the eastern United States during the 18th century… (I mean the last of the 19th century had ended 39 years before this movie was made!)

3. This also happens to be the first John Ford film that I have seen with John Wayne in it (John Wayne and John Ford were friends and collaborated on quite a few films together.)

John Wayne, William Holden and John Ford, on the set of the move, 'The Horse Soldiers'

4. This also happens to be the first Western that John Ford did after the advent of Talkie movies due to the fact that when talkies were released, Westerns kind of fell out of favor…

5. I also thought that I would let you know that this movie would go on to be remade twice and have role reprisals four times.  Claire Trevor reprised her role in the movie for Radio in 1946 with Randolph Scott and again in 1949 with John Wayne.  And as for remakes, it was remade in 1966 and again in 1986!

With that said folks, if your looking for a fun movie for the History books… Then I highly recommend checking this one out!  It is a fun one!



Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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