AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Kit Carson
Director: George B. Seitz (Dir)
Release Date:   30 Aug 1940
Premiere Information:   Denver opening: 26 Aug 1940
Production Date:   began May 1940
Duration (in mins):   97
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast:   Jon Hall (Kit Carson)  
    Lynn Bari (Dolores Murphy)  
    Dana Andrews (Captain John C. Fremont)  
    Harold Huber (Lopez)  
    Ward Bond (Ape)  
    Renie Riano (Miss Pilchard)  
    Clayton Moore (Paul Terry)  
    Rowena Cook (Alice Terry)  
    Raymond Hatton (Jim Bridger)  
    Harry Strang (Sergeant Clanahan)  
    C. Henry Gordon (General Castro)  
    Lew Merrill (General Vallejo)  
    Stanley Andrews (Larkin)  
    Edwin Maxwell (John Sutter)  
    Peter Lynn (James King)  
    Charley Stevens (Ruiz)  
    William Farnum (Don Miguel Murphy)  
    Blaney Harris (Second lieutenant)  
    Al Kikume (Indian chief)  
    Harry Semels (Pioneer)  

Summary: Fearless frontier scout and Indian fighter Kit Carson and his friends, Ape and Lopez, narrowly escape an attack by a tribe of gun-toting Shoshone Indians as they ride to Fort Bridger, the gateway to the Oregon Trail. After safely arriving at the fort, Kit is asked by wagon leader Paul Terry to guide his train south along the Oregon Trail to California. Kit at first refuses on the grounds that the trip is too dangerous, but when Terry and the wagons make arrangements to ride with Captain John Fremont and his cavalry troops, Kit reconsiders and agrees to lead the train. He soon finds himself in competition with Fremont for the leadership of the train as well as the attentions of Dolores Murphy, a young California beauty on her way to her father's hacienda in Monterey. Meanwhile, General Castro, the Mexican Governor General of California, arms the Indians in an effort to keep the Americans out of California. As the rivalry between Kit and Fremont mounts, Fremont insists upon leading his troops through a canyon, thus exposing them to the danger of ambush, while Kit insists upon leading the wagons along a safer route. As Fremont leads his men into the narrow pass, half the Indians dynamite the entrance, thus trapping the soldiers, while the other half of the tribe attacks the wagons. Kit blasts the entrance open in time to free the soldiers and rescue the wagons, and they continue on to Monterey. As Dolores and the others celebrate their safe passage at the Murphy hacienda, Castro plots the demise of the Americans. Kit discovers his plans when he sees some Mexican army wagons carrying guns to the general and learns of his plans to destroy the hacienda. As the Americans rally at the Murphy hacienda to raise the flag of the California Republic, Kit orchestrates the forces to defeat Castro. After successfully routing Castro and his troops, Kit is appointed colonel in the United States Army and bids Dolores farewell as he rides off to defend the California Republic. 

Production Company: Edward Small Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: George B. Seitz (Dir)
  Arthur Rosson (2d unit dir)
  John Burch (Asst dir)
Producer: Edward Small (Pres)
Writer: George Bruce (Orig scr)
  Evelyn Wells (Story)
Photography: John Mescall (Photog)
  Robert Pittack (Photog)
Art Direction: John Ducasse Schulze (Art dir)
Film Editor: Fred R. Feitshans Jr. (Film ed)
  William Claxton (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edward Boyle (Set dec)
Costumes: Edward Lambert (Cost)
Music: Bob Wright (Mus)
  Carlos Ruffino (Mus)
  Edward Ward (Mus)
  Chet Forrest (Mus)
Sound: Earl Sitar (Sd)
  Richard Heermance (Rerecording ed)
Special Effects: Howard A. Anderson (Spec eff)
  Jack Cosgrove (Photog eff)
Make Up: Don Cash (Makeup)
Production Misc: Val Paul (Prod mgr)
  Grant Whytock (Asst to prod)
Stand In: Buell Bryant (Stand-in for Jon Hall)
  Marie Toomey (Stand-in for Lynn Bari)
  Jack Hendricks (Stand-in for Dana Andrews)
  Carl Sepulveda (Stand-in for Ward Bond)
  Ben Corbett (Stand-in for Harold Huber)
  Curley Gibson (Stand-in for Harry Strang)
Country: United States

Songs: "Sail Along Prairie Schooner," words by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright, music by Edward Ward; "With My Concertina," English lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest, Spanish lyrics by Carlos Ruffino, music by Edward Ward.
Composer: Chet Forrest
  Carlos Ruffino
  Edward Ward
  Bob Wright

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Edward Small Productions, Inc. 6/9/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP9897

PCA NO: 6527
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: Historical
 
Subjects (Major): California--History
  Kit Carson
  Rivalry
  Scouts (Frontier)
  Wagon trains
 
Subjects (Minor): John Fremont
  Indians of North America
  Mexicans
  Mexico. Army
  Officers (Military)
  Monterey (CA)
  Oregon Trail
  Territorial governors
  United States. Army. Cavalry

Note: According to a news item in HR , Randolph Scott was originally slated to play the role of Kit Carson. This picture was filmed on location at Cayente, AZ. The 1936 Universal film Sutter's Gold (see below) and the 1939 Universal film Mutiny on the Blackhawk (see below) also featured the character of Kit Carson. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   27 Aug 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   1 May 40   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 May 40   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 May 40   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 40   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   27 Aug 40   p. 1, 4
Motion Picture Herald   31 Aug 40   p. 52.
New York Times   15 Nov 40   p. 25.
Variety   28 Aug 40   p. 16.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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