Wagon Master (1950)

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    There are 27 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • Wagon Master (1950)



      Photo with the courtesy of Paula

      Information From IMDb

      Plot Summary
      A group of Mormons hoping to found a new colony in the trackless San Juan River country hire horse traders Travis and Sandy as wagonmaster and guide. One attraction for Sandy is "redheaded gal" Prudence. Soon they're joined by Doc Hall's broken down medicine show, with "scarlet women" Denver and Fleuretty. Then the Clegg boys, slightly psycho outlaws, decide a Mormon wagon train will make ideal camouflage.
      Written by Rod Crawford

      The plot takes us to 1849 Utah Territory, where two young horse traders are hired by a Mormon elder to guide a small party of Mormon families westward through the Utah desert. The wagon train is plagued by a series of events. Serious meaning a band of savage Indians, A dry desert and no water, and a band of crazy outlaws, who use the train as a disguise. A must see adventure!!
      Written by Maire0142

      Full Cast
      Ben Johnson ... Travis Blue
      Joanne Dru ... Denver
      Harry Carey Jr. ... Sandy
      Ward Bond ... Elder Wiggs
      Charles Kemper ... Uncle Shiloh Clegg
      Alan Mowbray ... Dr. A. Locksley Hall
      Jane Darwell ... Sister Ledeyard
      Ruth Clifford ... Fleuretty Phyffe
      Russell Simpson ... Adam Perkins
      Kathleen O'Malley ... Prudence Perkins
      James Arness ... Floyd Clegg
      Francis Ford ... Mr. Peachtree
      Fred Libby ... Reese Clegg
      Jim Thorpe ... Navajo
      Mickey Simpson ... Jesse Clegg
      Cliff Lyons ... Marshall of Crystal City
      Hank Worden ... Luke Clegg
      Don Summers ... Sam Jenkins
      Movita ... Young Navajo Indian (as Movita Castaneda)
      Danny Borzage ... Accordionist (uncredited)
      Chuck Hayward ... Jackson (uncredited)
      Frank McGrath ... Posse Member (uncredited)

      Lowell J. Farrell .... associate producer (as Lowell Farrell)
      Merian C. Cooper .... executive producer (uncredited)
      John Ford .... executive producer (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Frank S. Nugent (written by) (as Frank Nugent) and
      Patrick Ford (written by)
      John Ford (story) uncredited

      Original Music
      Richard Hageman (musical score)

      Bert Glennon (director of photography)

      Film Editing
      Jack Murray
      Barbara Ford (uncredited)

      Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
      Wingate Smith .... assistant director
      Cliff Lyons .... second unit director (uncredited)

      Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
      Bryan 'Slim' Hightower .... stunts (uncredited)
      Billy Jones .... stunts (uncredited)
      Eddie Juaregui .... stunts (uncredited)
      Fred Kennedy .... stunts (uncredited)
      Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
      Frank McGrath .... stunts (uncredited)
      Post Park .... stunts (uncredited)
      Gil Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
      Ray Thomas .... stunts (uncredited)

      Camera and Electrical Department
      Archie Stout .... second unit photography

      When Elder Wiggs breaks up the fight between Sandy and Jackson, a dog joins in and tears one of the legs of his pants. This was not in the script. It just happened on the set, and John Ford had liked it so much he kept it in the film.

      Ben Johnson did all his own stunts.

      In this film Harry Carey Jr. rode his own horse called "Mormon" and Ben Johnson rode a famous movie horse called "Steel" that was owned by his father in law "Fat Jones" who ran the most well known horse renting stable in Hollywood. In the galloping scenes Ben Johnston rode Steel's stunt double Bingo and was quoted as saying he was just a passenger as "Bingo" thundered down the hills. According to Harry Carey Jr "Steel" and "Mormon" became very attached and ruined quite a number of scenes by calling out to each other.

      In the scene where Sandy and the Mormon fight, the fight is broken up by Ward Bond's character. Ward Bond has ripped pants as he separates the fighters and you can hear a dog barking in the background. This happened because director John Ford wanted to use two dogs that had been ruining every scene in the film by fighting, in the background as the men fought, hoping the dogs would start fighting as a contrast to the men fighting. Instead of fighting however one of the dogs ran away and the other attacked Ward Bond and ripped his pants. John Ford could barely contain his laughter but kept filming. Afterwords however he became quite concerned and said they needed to find the dog in case it had bitten Ward Bond, not just ripped his pants. Ford was worried the dog might have needed a tetanus shot.

      In the scene where Travis gets bucked off his horse after Denver throws water on it, Ben Johnson did his own stunts. They used a genuine rodeo bucking horse and John Ford promised Johnston if he rode the horse he would not have to do anymore dialogue for the day. which apparently pleased Johnston. Johnston lasted 4 bucks and came off so hard he was almost knocked out. Unfortunately the shot was ruined by one of the wranglers running out to him and asking if he was all right as he lay on the ground. Ben Johnston had to get up and ride the horse again. This time he lasted ten bucks before he bailed off and Ford got his shot.

      According to Harry Carey Jr., Joanne Dru's husband, John Ireland, stayed in town during the shooting and avoided the set, but did organize the company into a performance of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" in the evening.

      * Crew or equipment visible: As the camera pans along the wagon train moving through Moab, Utah, it passes by a boulder, on which you see the shadows of the camera crew and director John Ford.

      * Continuity: In the beginning of the film, when Travis on the horse talks to the marshal, he folds his right leg leaning it on the saddle horn. In the next shot he is with his right leg hanging unfolded.

      * Continuity: When the marshal mounts the horse and Sandy whistles, he is sitting on the fence, on the right side of Travis. Soon after, when the Mormons arrive, Sandy is sitting on the left side of Travis

      * Continuity: Prudence arrives after Wiggs and Adam, and stands behind them, in front of Sandy on the fence. Between shots she appears near Sandy, with her back to him.

      * Continuity: During the dance, when done going around in a circle, Travis has his hand on Denver's waist, in the next shot it is on her shoulder.

      * Continuity: After Denver throws the bucket of water on Travis and he falls in the dirt, his arms and back are covered in dirt, in the next shot there is hardly any dirt on him, and he did not have time to brush it off.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Colorado River, Moab, Utah, USA
      Hittle Bottom, Moab, Utah, USA
      Moab, Utah, USA
      Monument Valley, Utah, USAProfessor Valley, Moab, Utah, USA
      Spanish Valley, Utah, USA
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Wagon Master (1950)

      Wagon Master is a 1950 Western film about a Mormon pioneer wagon train
      to the San Juan River in Utah.
      The film was conceived, produced, and directed by John Ford, who is often listed
      among the greatest film directors.
      The film stars Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Joanne Dru, and Ward Bond.

      Wagon Master inspired the US television series Wagon Train (1957–1965),
      which starred Ward Bond until his death in 1960.
      The film was a personal favorite of Ford himself, who told Peter Bogdanovich in 1967
      that "Along with The Fugitive and The Sun Shines Bright, Wagon Master came closest to being what I wanted to achieve."[

      While the critical and audience response to Wagon Master was lukewarm on its release,
      over the years several critics have come to view it as one of Ford's masterpieces

      Thanks to our member Paula for her knowledge of Ben Johnson.
      and as a result
      Pals Of The Saddle- Ben Johnson
      is currently one of our most popular threads.

      Wagon Master is one of the movies that not only starred Ben,
      but also one where he conducted all his own stunts.

      The film is a who's who of the
      John Ford Stock Company
      for all the well known gang, including Ford's son. daughter
      and brother- in-law.

      I really enjoyed this film for it's cast of well known Pals of Duke,
      Joanne Dru, Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond as Elder Wiggs,
      were all suited to their parts.
      I have also included the stuntmen, which included
      a few familiar names, Chick Hayward and Cliff Lyons,
      who was second unit director and played a bit part!.

      The television series Wagon Train
      starring first Ward Bond and then John McIntire,
      was inspired by the film. (Ford directed one episode, but was otherwise not involved with it.)
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 10 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic Movie Westerns- Wagon Master (1950)

      Thanks for starting this thread, Keith! Wagon Master is one of my favorite movies. (No surprise there, I'm sure!)

      I screencapped the entire movie and the pictures are all at benjohnsonscreencaps.shutterfly.com. Just click on the "Wagon Master" section towards the top of the page. :)

    • Re: John Ford- Wagon Master (1950)

      WOW, these were posted a long time ago. But, I feel that Ford was searching for someone who could fill in the roles Duke played for so long and thought that Ben might be it. After all, Ward Bond had the majority of the lead, and Dobe Carey stated that Ward carried the picture,(not the exact wording). Also, Ward was paid more than any of the others. In the DVD where Peter Bogdonovich and Dobe Carey were commentating, Dobe keeps saying Ward's horse was too small....of course Ford wouldn't have wanted Ward to be taller than Ben on horseback. Also, Dobe gives that the reason for Ward's fall. However, in frame by frame, you can see how Ben's horse Steel was mired up to his fetlocks and struggling to get out of the mud or quicksand...whatever it was. Ward and Ben did a good job of "winging" it. Actually, Ford sent Duke a telegram telling him that Ward had fallen on his bad leg but seemed to be OK. Dobe said that Ford Loved this little picture and was happy go lucky throughout the whole filming. Oh, and when Ward realized his pants were torn and Linda Darnell actually opened the pant leg up to the camera.....I believe she was trying to get a look at that leg of Ward's that was so mangled and which he almost lost. Frame by frame,you can see that Ward is quite angry with Linda, and she looks more than a little nervous about the whole thing. They got over it quickly though. She played in some excellent Wagon Train episodes....especially the one called The Andrew Hale Story. Love Ward Bond, KP

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Hawkswill: Question:Why doesn't my profile picture show up? ().

    • Re: John Ford- Wagon Master (1950)

      Hi Gorch, Thanks...wow, an answer, LOL. I am a Ward Bond freak. He had many surgeries and a lot of physical therapy to allow him to continue his career. I looked many times at that scene and used to be an RN. Can only tell of an inconsistency above the knee. Good docs. Also, if you watch him in the Grand March in Fort Apache, you will see how he lifts the left knee very slightly higher. I don't believe they ever quite got his foot reflex exactly right. I have never been able to find anything specific....just had to get it on my own. Couldn't believe it when I saw the dog rip open THAT pant leg. Harry Carey opens it up but while fighting and not on purpose. Linda did it very much purposefully. Just look at her face when she realizes she is going to get to see what Ward's leg looks like....imagine she was disappointed, LOL. He wore a heavy brace on it for years....why his pants legs are so wide. KP KEITH
    • Re: John Ford- Wagon Master (1950)

      Great autographed pic of Ben, Paula. Oh, you going to post his part on the Group Watch or going to make me do it, LOL? Want people to see his first one with Duke and Ward! Nice addition to the Watch! Super pic, know you are proud of THAT one! Keith

      Is that Steele he is on?

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Hawkswill: Forgot ().

    • Re: John Ford- Wagon Master (1950)

      That is indeed Steel! Ben liked Steel so much he even used him in rodeo events. :)

      Oh man, I have NOT had time to look at the Group Watch! I'm swamped! Sorry!!