Wagon Train (1940) starring Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Emmett Lynn, Martha O'Driscoll, Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart, Cliff Clark, Ellen Lowe directed by Edward Killy Movie Review

Wagon Train (1940)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tim Holt as Zack Sibley in Wagon Train (1940)

Wagon Wheel

There are good guys, bad guys, wagon trains and singing, yes "Wagon Train" is one of those light, breezy westerns which were once churned out; in fact this was made simultaneously with "The Fargo Kid". That doesn't mean that "Wagon Train" is a bad movie just an ordinary one which sees Tim Holt play the handsome hero taking on a corrupt businessman and winning the girl. And to be honest with "Wagon Train" coming in at a scratch under the hour mark it is a nice filler movie for those who enjoy westerns but don't have time for a full length one.

In the town of Pecos Matt Gardner (Cliff Clark) has been building a monopoly on supplies, buying up rivals products so that customers can only buy from him and at exorbitant prices. But Gardener has a thorn in his side in Zack Sibley (Tim Holt - His Kind of Woman) who refuses to sell up as he keeps his late father's freight business running whilst also looking for the man who murdered his pa. As his wagon train makes it across country he not only has Indians to worry about but Gardner's men who have been sent to ambush him and also Matt's son Coe as on the trail Zach has met his fiancee Helen (Martha O'Driscoll) who has taken a shine to him.

Emmett Lynn and Ellen Lowe in Wagon Train (1940)

Whilst I can't recollect watching another western about a businessman creating a supplies monopoly what gets delivered in "Wagon Train" is familiar as we watch Zach lead the wagons full of supplies, deal with trouble, win the heart of Helen before a big action climax. There is nothing wrong with that because director Edward Killy keeps things skipping along so it never has any dull moments and the action whilst brief is nicely shot. Yes some of it does border on the corny, such as a couple of scenes which see the wagon train singing but you almost expect these moments of lightness and to be frank the singing isn't that bad. The same can be said for the expected humour from Zach's comedy sidekick Whopper with his tall tales and his avoidance of Amanthy, a battle axe who says he's her man.

Along with all this expected familiarity we also get expected acting with Tom Holt being the handsome good guy who is quick on the draw when it comes to bad guys. For those not use to these sort of breezy westerns it is cheesy but then this was how it was and so when I say Martha O'Driscoll as Helen is there because this sort of movie called for a beautiful woman to look beautiful it is not being disrespectful. But whilst standard characters they are entertaining especially with Emmett Lynn as Whopper and Ellen Lowe as Amanthy providing some simple fun.

What this all boils down to is that "Wagon Train" is nothing more than a breezy, enjoyable but ultimately forgettable western from 1940. The best thing about it is that at just under an hour it doesn't drag and goes through the familiar motions at a breezy pace.