It's a misnomer to even call this a B western,
RKO having spent to point of graduation past Saturday status ($95,000 the final
cost). I wouldn't be surprised if Wagon Train was sold in select territories as
a special. $95K was way past investments to follow on Tim Holt's new series,
Wagon Train the first and clearly impression-maker for ones to come. Tim was arelative kid (21) here, being sold as a cowboy romancer and hopeful
catnip to femmes. Was he the device to widen gender interest in oaters? Wagon
Train wound up in a negative column ($12,000 lost), but RKO probably figured on
that going in. The idea was to establish a new outdoor star, and do so on first
class terms. Locations were splendidly chosen, parts shot in Kanab, Utah
among imposing rocks and desert. Tim's a trailmaster warding off Apaches and
food hoarding settlers. A post-massacre scene is strong meat, ingénue Martha O'
Driscoll cracking up over carnage she's seen. Much here is close to the bone
for matinee expectation, '40 kids flattered, I'll bet, for RKO's stronger dose than
what Republic and others were then handing out. Holt was attuned from a start
with dialogue, no awkwardness there, and he'd only get better with time.
Hardly a wonder his phone rang frequent with offers to support in A's for the majors.
Many of his for RKO are out fromWarner Archive, including Wagon Train. The Tim
Holts as a group rank at the tip-top of series westerns.