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The Oregon Trail (1939)

Johnny Mack Brown , Louise Stanley , Ford Beebe , Saul A. Goodkind  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Mack Brown, Louise Stanley, Fuzzy Knight, Bill Cody Jr., Edward LeSaint
  • Directors: Ford Beebe, Saul A. Goodkind
  • Writers: Basil Dickey, Edmond Kelso, George H. Plympton, W.W. Watson
  • Producers: Henry MacRae
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2006
  • Run Time: 296 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,877 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Oregon Trail" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Oregon Trail was the last of four serials that Johnny Mack Brown made for Universal in the 30's before making the switch exclusively to features. Jeff Scott (Johnny Mack Brown), a famous frontier scout, is hired by Washington officials to stop outlaw Indian raids on pioneer wagon trains crossing the rich fur regions of the Oregon Trail. Johnny Mack, the hero dressed all in black, leads the wagon train out west with his faithful sidekick Fuzzy Knight at his side. Together they battle the bad guys working for a big eastern syndicate who don't want the settles to disrupt their lucrative fur-trading activities. Bonus Features: Digitally Remastered| Chapter Selection Menu| Biographies| Bonus - Classic Serial Trailers. Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital Mono; 296 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1939; SRP - $29.99.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
VCI Entertainment and Universal Pictures present..."The Oregon Trail" (1939) (Dolby digitally remastered), a 15 Chapter cliffhanger from an action packed Universal western serial era featuring an outstanding cast with Ford Beebe and Saul A.Goodkind at the helm...."The Oregon Trail" was the last of four serials that Johnny Mack Brown made for Universal Pictures in the 30's he moved back to full feature films and B-Westerns...story line has our hero Jeff Scott (Johnny Mack Brown) and his sidekick Deadwood Hawkins (Fuzzy Knight) working undercover to investigate missing wagon trains who never make it to Oregon....who is behind the Indian attacks and what eastern syndicate is involved with all the problems our early pioneers are dealing Bull Bragg (Jack C. Smith) and his gang of cutthroats Breed (Charles Stevens), Daggett (Forrest Taylor), Dirk (Charles King) and Pete (Tom London) (what an outstanding lineup of screen badies) taking orders from Sam Morgan (James Blaine) who leading this dastardly pack of heavies...can we count on the cavalry riding to the rescue and keep all serial fans wanting more....will Bull Bragg blow the whistle on all who are involved in these 15 Universal episodes....don't leave the theater until the final chapter is over and done with "The End of the Trail"....just remember double thrills, chills, mystery and suspense...hitting the bull's eye with excitement...don't miss a single spine thrilling episode..return next week to this local theater for another episode of action and adventure that will keep you thrilled until the next chapter.

Under director's Ford Beebe and Cliff Smith, associate producer Henry MacRae, screenplay by George Plympton, Basil Dickey, Edmund Kelso and W.W.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Johnny Mack Brown plays an unusually dapper fur trapper hired to investigate a series of attacks preventing wagon trains from reaching the Oregon territories. He joins up with the most beleaguered wagon train in history, which spends several sequential episodes trying to get out of the same dusty town. Whenever the train starts moving, it falls under attack by Indians or stampeding cattle or some other stock footage, which digital technology makes even easier to spot.

Don't try to watch more than one or two chapters at a time, because this serial bears the marks of the form. Serials were a unique format completely beholden to the circumstances under which they were viewed. There was no guarantee that viewers attended the theater the previous week, so every installment contains a certain amount of redundant footage. Each chapter has opening credits, scrolling text describing the story thus far and usually about a minute of footage from the previous chapter, including the cliffhanger. There are no obvious cheats, though there is often an added shot or two (such as Johnny jumping clear of a crashing wagon) that shows how the cliffhanger was resolved. I have to knock off one star because of the disappointing ending and the fact that 15 chapters is simply to much for the story.

Johnny Mack Brown has a very physical method of fisticuffs that is a nice contrast to his easy-going acting style. He's not the most charismatic cinema cowboy, but he's charming enough to anchor the creaky cast. The strongest supporting character is Fuzzy Knight, who made dozens of films and serials with Brown. His performance, while amusing, never degenerates to the point of simple comic relief. You'll probably get a laugh out of how coyly the romantic elements are handled, chaste even by 1939 standards. This serial is very similar to Flaming Frontiers, which is also available on DVD and is just as much fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-living my childhood and youth! August 25, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While far from perfect by today's quality standards, this collection is much more clear and better than the average collection of old western serials of this era. It is clear enough to not be distracting and allows the viewer to thoroughly enjoy the action. One of the best of it's kind I have had the pleasure to have. Johnny Mac Brown at his best in today's world!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who said only bad guys wore black? January 17, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hey...what can I say? It's Johnny Mack Brown and the last of his Universal cliffhangers. Sure, it's loaded with Universal's dependency on old stock footage. Sure Universal sometimes constructed entire episodes around old existing footage. So?
Hey, it's Saturday Matinee time on a small budget. Transport yourself back to a time when filmed entertainment wasn't overblown by CGI and every character wasn't bent on getting laid. It's called "escapism," pal. If you weren't interested you wouldn't be reading these buyer reviews. And if you are even slightly interested, buy the dern thing. It's a time machine. Jump aboard and travel the fictional Oregon Trail. 'Nuff said!
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