Santa Fe Trail

One of my favorite Civil War movies is Santa Fe Trail (1940).  It’s a deceptive title for a Civil War movie, and it is packed with all sorts of historical inaccuracies that make Gettysburg and Glory faithful-to-the-facts renditions of their subject matter.

Here’s the trailer:

The movie addresses the role of slavery and abolitionists in the coming of the sectional conflict as well as how that conflict divided West Point classmates Jeb Stuart and George Armstrong Custer (as well as classmates James Longstreet and Phil Sheridan).  I warned you about the movie as history … 🙂

But the movie does tell us something about how Americans at the time viewed the coming of the Civil War.  Overshadowed by Gone With the Wind, this movie nevertheless has much to tell us about … wait for it … Civil War memory.  If you want to watch it, click here.

6 thoughts on “Santa Fe Trail

  1. Jeff Davis August 7, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    A long time favorite. Amazing how close Kansas and Missouri are to West Virginia. Its history is laughable yet good it is good theater.

  2. David Corbett August 8, 2011 / 6:25 am

    Hollywood at its stereotypical apex but still a film that presents deeper issues not often addressed. In addition to political themes it does feature some precise cavalry drill and a future United States president! Raymond Massey seems to embody the passon of “Osawatomie Brown.”

  3. Will Hickox August 8, 2011 / 8:30 am

    I got a kick out of the pilot episode of the Eisenhower-era “The Gray Ghost,” in which the show opens with the narrator intoning: “During the Civil War there were few atrocities…” The atrocity being shown is, inevitably, the burning of a white southern family’s home by the perfidious Yankees.

  4. TF Smith August 8, 2011 / 7:49 pm

    Lusty, Lawless, and Baptized in Flame!


    I get the other two, but. . .lusty?

    California, sure. Maybe Nevada or Louisiana.

    But Kansas?

  5. Will Hickox August 11, 2011 / 7:02 pm

    I just moved to Kansas. Not lusty? *Now* you tell me…

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