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The Oregon Trail

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Jan 17, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

A railroad detective tracks gold-bullion thieves to a Texas town.

Special Features

None.

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)
  • ASIN: B000CMNJMW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,763 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Oregon Trail" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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 with...is 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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Oregon Trail" is a 15-chapter Universal serial directed by Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind, released in 1939.

Famous scout Jeff Scott (Johnny Mack Brown) and his sidekick Deadwood (Fuzzy Knight) are undercover agents for the Government, trying to determine who is behind attacks on settlers bound for Oregon. They join up with a wagon train headed by John Mason (Edward LeSaint) whose wagon boss, Bull Bragg (Jack C. Smith) is an underling of the main culprit, Sam Morgan (James Blaine). Morgan wants to keep settlers out of his territory so they don't disrupt his stranglehold on fur trade with the Indians. Bragg is quickly exposed, but isn't captured, and with Morgan's other main henchman, Breed (Charles Stevens) continues to disrupt Mason's efforts to get his wagons through to Paradise Valley.

This is a typical Universal western serial, which means lots of repetition, silent-era stock-footage Indians, cattle stampedes, and brush fires. There is a female, Mason's daughter Margaret (Louise Stanley) and a kid, Jimmie Clark (Bill Cody Jr.) that occasionally need rescue. The repetitive plot seems to have been desirable when these serials were first released; the kids in the audience were there for their weekly "fix" of Cowboys & Indians, and the associated features tended to do the same thing. Watched today for the "full story" it seems awfully slow-moving, but two things help redeem the serial: Fuzzy Knight's role as a useful comic-relief character, and that the hero can't just shoot Bull Bragg, who must be kept alive to expose the Big Boss. It's also interesting to have Roy Barcroft as Colonel Custer, occasionally coming to the rescue of the good guys. Barcroft's splendid delivery of lines is clearly evident here.
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