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Fighting Caravans

1931

PG CC
Available on Prime
3.5 out of 5 stars (48) IMDb 5.9/10

Gary Cooper and two scouts who raised him lead a wagon train across the plains headed by a pretty French woman who he falls in love with. They must fight Plains Indians incited by an evil white man. Good Zane Grey western. Full of intrigue, action and romance.

Starring:
Gary Cooper, Lili Damita
Runtime:
1 hour, 30 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Western, Romance
Director Otto Brower, David Burton
Starring Gary Cooper, Lili Damita
Supporting actors Ernest Torrence, Tully Marshall, Fred Kohler, Eugene Pallette, Roy Stewart, May Boley, Eve Southern, Frank Campeau, Charles Winninger, Frank Hagney, Oscar Apfel, Irving Bacon, Chief John Big Tree, Chris Willow Bird, Frank Brownlee, Jack Carlyle, Blue Cloud, Iron Eyes Cody
Studio Reel Enterprises
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A semi-clone of "The Big Trail", Cooper takes over the spot DUKE played, as a frontiersman/guide for a wagon train.
While "Fighting Caravans" is not as expansive as "The Big Trail", and while the young Gary Cooper is no young John Wayne, this early western is pretty entertaining.
In the story, Cooper helps the wagon train fend off Indians and evil traders, while his two crusty companions try and save him from falling in love.
There's plenty of action, and there's even a hint of pre-code Hollywood, as Cooper's character practically attempts to blackmail his new sweetheart into fooling around with him.
Laserlight/Delta found a pretty fair print, but there are several missing frames. The image will occasionally "black out", but while annoying, does not interfere with viewing. Originally 92 minutes, this print seems to be more or less intact, missing perhaps two or three minutes.
The story moves along well, and the opening credits alone are pretty snazzy for 1931.
The film has much to recommend it, and while "The Big Trail" is superior, this early Cooper vehicle is worth adding to your western DVD collection. Especially for the low price the disc is being offered at, you should definitely pick this one up.
Film fans should look (or listen!), for Eugene Pallette, of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" fame. He's here in a minor supporting role some seven years before he played Friar Tuck.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Gary Cooper, as a young scout-in-training with two crusty old mountain men as his mentors, falls for a lone woman (Lili Damita) driving a wagon on a massive caravan headed through treacherous terrain and Indian country to California but resists getting tied down. The romantic comedy elements are at odds with the epic action-adventure of the wagon train saga, all shot on location with dozens of wagons and horses and a large cast, but it's a curiously endearing film, enlivened by the antics of the bantering, hard-drinking, wise-cracking mountain men played by Ernest Torrence and Tully Marshall and the sincerity, spunk and determination of the French leading lady. It's fun to watch Cooper as a gangly, awkward, lovestruck youth before his screen persona had become hardened. Not for all tastes, but if you're a western fan, it's definitely an unusual experience and should prove quite rewarding.
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Format: DVD
Though not quite as good as Wild Horse Mesa, which was the only previous example of this series that I had seen, this low-rent BW Western has its points. Gary Cooper, then 30 and still more or less confined to B-pictures, plays Clint Belmet, a young frontiersman who, with the Civil War raging back East, signs on, along with his mentors Bill Jackson (Ernest Torrance) and Jim Bridger (Tully Marshall), to guide a wagon train to the Coast. The army is being withdrawn from the Western posts, making the trip doubly hazardous, and a spirited young woman named Felice (Lily Damita), granddaughter of one of Lafayette's officers, who is bound and determined she'll make it to California without any male help, complicates the picture still more when she helps Jackson and Bridger extract Clint from the clutches of a Missouri lawman (Charles Winninger). The hard hand of nature is also against the wagoners as they struggle over rivers and mountains (internal hints suggest that they're taking a southern route, probably the old Santa Fe Trail). Meanwhile Clint, uncomfortable with the concept of owing his precious liberty to a woman, is trying to strike a balance between his attraction and gratitude to Felice and his obligations to the two old men who've raised him.

Cooper here is clearly establishing the laconic, woman-shy persona he would bring to the screen in many films to come, while Damita (who, like Cooper, had begun in silents, mostly German and French ones, and ten years hence would become the mother of Errol Flynn's son Sean) plays off him well as a brave spitfire in love.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Wanted to see Gary Cooper. This an oldie - and pretty much a novelty to watch - for me. It is a challenge to look back 70+ years and "review" a movie that old in light of todays "thinking". I like old westerns - knowing that those scenes were accurate, depicting what it was like for those early settlers - and how strong they were to survive such a journey. Glad this is still around for all to see. This is a good one especially for those 65+.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Considering the era that this film was produced, it was pretty ambitious. The lead actors were charming, and the two old scouts were often given clever dialog. I enjoyed stepping back, not only to the 1850s, but also the early 1930s.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bearing little or no resemblance to Zane Grey's book. Video and sound quality were what you would expect from a film this old. In the book it follows the adventure of Clint Belmet from his teens to his late 20's. Gary Cooper is much too old for the part. The female part was not a French woman but a young girl from Clint's first wagon train trip. Kit Carson has been replaced by Jim Bridger etc. etc. Having just finished reading the novel for my 4th or 5th time I was deeply disappointed. For those Zane Grey fans who are thinking about getting a movie version of the book don't waste your time.
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