Santa Fe Trail

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Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan ride off to stop John Brown and vie for the hand of Olivia De Havilland

And that’s pretty much it. Someone saw the list of famous Civil War commanders who all graduated from West Point together, and decided to write a story around them. Flynn plays J. E. B. Stuart, Reagan is (hold on to your hats here, folks) George Armstrong Custer, and their first cavalry assignment out of West Point is in Fort Leavenworth KS, where they are trying to stop Brown’s raids and find out where he’s going to strike…and then, of course, they are part of the troop who take the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.

nobrainWell, of course, since Mr. Otter has <shameless plug> written a novel for Young Adults about John Brown and the Harper’s Ferry raid </shameless plug>, we chez Otter knew that most of the historical stuff in this movie is just silly. By the end, when Custer is enamored of Jefferson Davis’ daughter (!) we were just shaking out heads and laughing.
But, historical veracity aside, it’s really not so bad a movie…I mean, you have Serious Honey (at least he was until about 1945) Errol Flynn, cutie pie Olivia De Havilland creating serious sparks with him, and Ronald Reagan bouncing around like a puppy dog. Some good action sequences, historical inaccuracy notwithstanding, and Alan Hale and Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams (I am not making this up) as the two pretty amusing comic relief sidekicks.

Watch it for fun, don’t expect too much.

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