The Oregon Trail (lost John Wayne Western film; 1936)

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OregonTrailPoster.jpg

The film's poster.

Status: Lost

The Oregon Trail was a western movie starring John Wayne, distributed by Republic Pictures in 1936. Despite being released at a time when the actor was already established as a western icon, the movie's prints disappeared right after its theatrical release, and as a result, it is one of the few lost movies starring John Wayne.

This film should not be confused with a series of educational video games of the same name.

Plot

John Wayne plays former U.S. Army Captain John Delmont, who leaves retirement after discovering his father's journal, who went missing for years, only to find out that he was left to die by a renegade. Delmont leads a wagon to California, going after his father's killer. Delmont also falls in love with a frontier woman, played by Ann Rutherford (of Gone With the Wind fame).

With a running time of 59 minutes, it's one of John Wayne's shortest motion pictures.

Rediscovery Attempts

Bob Sigman, former president of Republic Pictures and director of the Lone Pine Museum, a museum dedicated to the western film genre, started the search for The Oregon Trail in 2003, having traveled to Latin America and Europe, talking to potential distributors who might own a copy of the movie. Sigman believes that a reel might be sitting inside a warehouse.

Found Production Stills

In 2013, a retired manager of a telephone company in Duluth, Georgia, found 40 production stills of The Oregon Trail while ordering John Wayne memorabilia from a video store in North Hollywood. The manager claimed that the negatives of the stills were sent to him by accident. The stills were scanned to a computer and sent to the Lone Pine Museum.[1]

Gallery

References