The Fighting Caravans (February 1, 1931)
Released February 1, 1930: (running time 1 hour and 21 minutes) Gary Cooper is a woman-chasing wagon train scout that pretends to be married to a young lady who wants to go to Sacramento because single ladies are not allowed to travel with the wagon train.
Directed by Otto Brower
Written by Zane Grey with screenplay by Agnes Brand Leahy, Keene Thompson and Edward E. Paramore Jr.
The Actors: Gary Cooper (Clint Belmet, scout), Lili Damita (Felice), Ernest Torrence (Bill Jackson, scout), Tully Marshall (Jim Bridger, scout), Fred Kohler (Lee Murdock), Eugene Pallette (Seth Higgins), Roy Stewart (wagon master Couch), May Boley (Jane), Eve Southern (Faith), Frank Campeau (Jeff Moffitt), Charles Winninger ('Marsh' the Marshall), Frank Hagney (Renegade), Oscar Apfel (minor role), Irving Bacon (the mustachioed barfly), Chief John Big Tree (the Indian Chief in the opening credits scene), Chris Willow Bird (the Apache Indian), Frank Brownlee (minor role), Jack Carlyle (minor role), Blue Cloud (the Navajo Indian), Iron Eyes Cody (the indian after firewater), Jane Darwell (one of the pioneer women), Chief White Eagle (on of the Indians), Jim Farley (Amos), Pauline French (one of the pioneer women), Rosa Gore (one of the pioneer women), High Eagle (the Mission Indian), Jane Keckley (one of the pioneer women), Donald MacKenzie (Gus), James A. Marcus (the blacksmith), Merrill McCormick (the townsman), Tiny Sandford (man at the wagon train), Syd Saylor (Charlie), Harry Semels (Brawler), E. Alyn Warren (Barlow), White Cloud (the Choctaw Indian), and Chief White Feather (the Iroquois Indian)
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The Cowboy, the French Girl, and what The Almighty has Joined Asunder
One of Gary Cooper’s early script lines in this caravan adventure is, “The woman who can hook me into marrying her ain’t been born yet!” By the end of the movie, he would be hooked by dynamite Lili, or Tiger Lil, as she was called by her friends.
Liliane Marie Madeleine Carré was born in Blaye, France, and she had a short but notable career in movies until 1938. She once said, “Marriage is a career itself. It requires full-time. When I do fall in love the career must go.”
In 1935, four years after this adventure, she fell in love with and married the dashing and handsome superstar actor Errol Flynn, and by 1938 she had acted in her final motion picture. After enduring seven years of a handsome husband who had affairs with every pretty girl that would have him, they got divorced. Twenty years after that divorce she would marry an Iowa dairy farmer, and that marriage would last twenty-one years.
In this adventure, a young playboy rabble-rouser cowboy is about to become an advance scout with his two old buddies for a wagon train going from Independence, Missouri to Sacramento, California. Unfortunately, he has been in a bit of trouble and the Sheriff wants to put him in jail for thirty days, and he may miss the departure of the wagon train.
The two old fellows who are teaching him how to scout for the wagon train come up with a plan to convince the Sheriff not to put him in jail when they meet Felice, played by Lili Damita. The young woman is an immigrant from France who wants to travel to California by herself after the death of her father, but she is told that a single woman will not be allowed to join the wagon train.
The two old scouts convince her to pretend to be the new wife of the rabble-rousing young scout with the hopes of convincing the Sheriff to go easy on the new husband. Their scheme works, and now the young lady and the woman-chasing scout are off on a journey across the wilderness of America headed for a new land.
The young woman has decided that she will woo the handsome scout during the journey and make him her husband for real. Gary Cooper, as young Clint Belmet, may eat his words about becoming a tame husband, unless the attacking Indians on the warpath get them first. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Ernest Torrence and Tully Marshall
Ernest Torrence and Tully Marshall
Gary Cooper and Lili Damita
Lili Damita and Eugene Pallette
Lili Damita and Gary Cooper
Lili Damita and Tully Marshall