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Trouble On The "Santa Fe Trail"

Santa Fe Trail
(L to R) David Bruce, Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn & William Lundigan in Santa Fe Trail, 1940

WLRN Friday Night Movie: Santa Fe Trail, a western drama about rivals who get caught in the battle to stop abolitionist John Brown.

Friday 8pm -SANTA FE TRAIL - A 1940 American western film starring Errol Flynn, Olivia Mary de Havilland and Ronald Reagan.  In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

After graduating from West Point, Jeb Stuart (Errol Flynn) and George Custer (Ronald Reagan) are both stationed to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Once there, they find that the violent abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey) has laid waste to the state, killing anyone who gets in the way of his anti-slavery crusade. While the duo must work together to battle the murderous revolutionary, they also come to blows over their competing love for Kit Carson Holliday (Olivia de Havilland).


  • The film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, and the seventh Flynn–de Havilland collaboration. Its content has little relevance to the actual Santa Fe Trail.
  • Ronald Reagan got the part of George Custer on the strength of his success playing George Gipp in Knute Rockne All American (1940).
  • Olivia de Havilland recalled that former flame Errol Flynn behaved badly towards her onset (she was dating James Stewart and believed Flynn was jealous).
  • Aptly enough, the movie made its world premiere in Santa Fe, NM.

Mia Laurenzo is a 35-year veteran of public television in Miami. She began her career learning every aspect of video production. Currently she is a writer, producer, on-air host and promotions coordinator for TV, radio and the web.  Her experiences include producing for a series, special events and historical documentaries.  As a native Floridian, she is a perfect fit for South Florida's Storyteller Station, WLRN.  She has produced several award winning, nationally distributed documentaries and is the recipient of three Suncoast Regional Emmys.  
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