Every part of it reeks of the real dirty grimy and difficult life pioneering was. The acting is great and young John Wayne fill the role well. (How this film didn't launch him big is beyond me. I think it is better than Stagecoach and thats saying a lot.)
If there was ever a big return for a small investment this movie is it.
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Restored in the late 1980s and warmly embraced by film festival audiences, The Big Trail proved to be more than just a historical footnote. What were those 1930 reviewers thinking?! Wayne is fresh, exuberant, matinee-idol handsome, and irresistibly charming (only a little purple prose trips him up, and no one should have been asked to speak such early-talkie flapdoodle anyway). The scenario winds through epic settings from the banks of the Mississippi by way of the Grand Canyon to the snows of Oregon and the mountain vistas of Washington, marking both a wagon train's journey and the settling of a personal score between trail guide Wayne and Tyrone Power Sr. as a veritable ogre of a villain. (A villain off-camera, too: Legend holds that Walsh had the actor beaten nearly to death for attempting to force himself on leading lady Marguerite Churchill.) The Big Trail is now an authentic classic, and a swell movie. Probably...