|Santa Fe Trail, Kansas|
Custer wasn't even enrolled into West Point until 1858. However, Col. Robert E. Lee was the commandant of the academy in 1854--and was appointed by President Buchanan to lead the attack on Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1859.
On contemporary standards--this film is racist. Blacks are portrayed as noble sufferers who don't know how to cope with the freedom Brown gave them. In one scene, Brown abandons a group of slaves--leaving them to burn to death in a barn fire with Stuart. And Brown treated the Harper's Ferry hostages well--in this movie, Brown shoots one. The abolitionist stronghold of Palmyra is referred to as "the cancer of Kansas."
Michael Curtiz, who won a a Best Director Academy Award three years later for Casablanca, directs here.
Watch "Santa Fe Trail" in its entirety now.
This was Reagan's last big movie before King's Row. The future president later joined the army--just as his Hollywood career was taking off.
Oh, this movie has very little to do with the real Santa Fe Trail. I suspect the title was chosen because of the popularity of westerns at the time. Most of the civilians in this film wear cowboy hats, although the Stetson Boss of the Plains hat, arguably the first cowboy hat, wasn't produced until 1865.
There are some terrific character actors in this movie, including Alan Hale Sr., Ward Bond, Moroni Olsen, and Raymond Massey--who plays Brown.
The film ends with an ominous warning from the abolitionist, "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood."
World War II had started the year before. The crimes of Nazism had to be extinguished in the same manner.
The final words I leave to Reagan.
|Reagan Museum, Eureka College|
Note: Santa Fe Trail is in the public domain.
Technorati tags: movies entertainment politics news Reagan republican Ronald Reagan history culture Civil War
The Old Santa Fe Trail by Inman, Colonel Henry [Hardcover] (Google Affiliate Ad)