Wagon Trail (1935) starring Harry Carey, Gertrude Messinger, Edward Norris, Roger Williams directed by Harry L. Fraser Movie Review

Wagon Trail (1935)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Harry Carey in Wagon Trail (1935)

Saving the Son

In the frontier town of Elder, Sheriff Clay Hartley (Harry Carey) suspects that saloon owner Mark Collins (Roger Williams) maybe the ring leader of a gang of outlaws but can't get anything on him. But what Clay doesn't know is that his son Clay Hartley, Jr (Edward Norris) has fallen in with the Collins gang and finds himself involved with a stagecoach robbery carrying a vast amount in gold dust. But when a deputy tries to prevent the robbery and is killed it is Clay Jr who finds himself arrested and sentenced to be hung for the deputy's murder. Convinced his son is innocent Sheriff Clay has little time to prove his it and takes a risk by asking Collins' step-daughter Joan (Gertrude Messinger) to help out.

Admittedly I have not watched that many movies which featured Harry Carey but he always seemed to play a fatherly type character in a supporting role, you know the sort, the older, wiser and kinder sort of character who people could turn to. It is in many ways what Harry Carey brings to the lead role of Sheriff Hartley in "Wagon Trail" and whilst that means that Hartley is a pleasant enough fellow he doesn't have a screen presence which demands and commands your attention. It is one of the reasons that despite being a nice performance from Harry Carey, "Wagon Trail" ends up forgettable.

The other reasons are that despite an entertaining twist which sees Hartley having to deal with his son possibly being hung everything about "Wagon Trail" is typical. There are the typical sort of bad guys, the typical sort of action and the typical young woman who provides a romantic slant to the story for Hartley Jr. But everything about "Wagon Trail" feels identical to many of the other westerns which were churned out during the 1930s.

What this all boils down to is that "Wagon Trail" is entertaining and enjoyable if you are interested in old westerns or Harry Carey but it is nothing special and features much which is simply typical of the westerns made during the 1930s.