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Western Union (1941)

Passed | | History, Western | 21 February 1941 (USA)
When Edward Creighton leads the construction of the Western Union to unite East with West, he hires a Western reformed outlaw and a tenderfoot Eastern surveyor.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Zane Grey (novel), Robert Carson (screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Young ... Richard Blake
Randolph Scott ... Vance Shaw
Dean Jagger ... Edward Creighton
Virginia Gilmore ... Sue Creighton
John Carradine ... Doc Murdoch
Slim Summerville ... Herman
Chill Wills ... Homer Kettle
Barton MacLane ... Jack Slade
Russell Hicks ... Governor
Victor Kilian ... Charlie
Minor Watson ... Pat Grogan
George Chandler ... Herb
Chief John Big Tree ... Chief Spotted Horse (as Chief Big Tree)
Chief Thundercloud ... Indian Leader
Dick Rich Dick Rich ... Porky
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Storyline

Vance Shaw gives up outlawing and goes to work for the telegraph company; his brother Jack Slade leads outlaws trying to prevent the company connecting the line between Omaha and Salt Lake City. Lots of Indian fighting and gunplay. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A 20th Century-Fox Encore Hit !

Genres:

History | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Sioux

Release Date:

21 February 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zane Grey's Western Union See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Studio publicity noted that Fox contract star Henry Fonda had served as technical adviser on the film, due to his experience as a young man working as a lineman. Fonda's "technical advisory" capacity was most certainly a publicity fiction, and in any event Fonda was not credited on the film itself. See more »

Goofs

Most of this movie takes place in Nebraska. Nebraska is not sagebrush country, except for a VERY small piece of Deuel County, near the Colorado border. See more »

Quotes

[on the whereabouts of a recently deceased railroad worker]
Charlie: He's being slapped with a spade right now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Yul Brynner: The Man Who Was King (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Gwine to Rune All Night
("De Camptown Races") (1850) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played as background music for the first scene in Omaha, Nebraska
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Binding the USA
26 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If Western Union isn't exactly the real story of the construction of the Transcontinental Telegraph, it certainly does capture the spirit and dedication of the people involved with the project.

Dean Jagger is the man in charge and one fine day he's thrown from a horse and sustains some fractured ribs. An outlaw on the run, Randolph Scott, finds Jagger and is ready to steal his horse, but changes his mind and brings Jagger to help. Later on he's hired by Western Union and works for Jagger.

Jagger also hires a young easterner played by Robert Young who's an engineer. Young is doing one of his few loan out films away from MGM for 20th Century Fox. Both Young and Scott become friends, but rivals for Jagger's sister Virginia Gilmore.

Western Union has plenty of action, enough to satisfy any western fans. The telegraph crew has to deal with outlaws, Indians, and your garden variety labor troubles.

Slim Summerville as the timid cook and Victor Killian as the frontier character assigned to guard him have some of the funniest scenes. They both provide some good comic relief.

Fritz Lang got good performances from his cast and kept the film moving briskly along. Western Union is solid western entertainment.


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