Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 American western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan. Written by Robert Buckner, the film is about the abolitionist John Brown and his fanatical attacks on slavery as a prelude to the Civil War. Subthemes include J.E.B. Stuart and George Armstrong Custer as they duel for the hand of Kit Carson Holliday.
The film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the seventh Flynn–de Havilland collaboration. The film also has almost nothing to do with its namesake, the famed Santa Fe Trail, except that the trail started in Missouri and the railroad could be built only after the Army drove Brown out of Kansas.
The outdoor scenes were filmed at the Lasky Movie Ranch in the Lasky Mesa area of the Simi Hills in the western San Fernando Valley. One can visit the film location site, now in the very large Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve (a.k.a. Ahmanson Ranch), with various trails to the Lasky Mesa locale.
By Michael Curtiz (YouTube) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Santa Fe Trail
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by Robert Buckner
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey, Ronald Reagan
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Sol Polito
Edited by George Amy
Production company Warner Bros. Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates December 28, 1940
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States