In 1939, director John Ford took a story by Ernest Haycox and turned it into one of the great Westerns – perhaps the best ever made.
This new Stagecoach still tells the same fascinating story of a group of people travelling in a stagecoach – a journey punctuated by Indian attacks, a run-in with a family of outlaws and the birth of a baby.
The group includes a drunken doctor, a bar girl who’s been thrown out of town, a professional gambler, a travelling liquor salesman, a banker who has decided to embezzle money, a gunslinger out for revenge and a young woman going to join her army captain husband.
Director Gordon Douglas replaces the dusty Arizona plains of the original with the more spectacular Colorado mountains, and he peoples his stagecoach with a cast which is both better and worse than those travelling in Ford’s vehicle.
Notably, that is true of Bing Crosby, uncharacteristically cast as the drunken doctor here in his last major film. He is better than Thomas Mitchell was.
Sadly, Alex Cord is no John Wayne. Famous American artist Norman Rockwell has his first and only film role as one of the townsmen.
Stagecoach was remade again in 1986 with country music legends Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Doc Josiah Boone
Marshal Curly Wilcox
Buck (stagecoach driver)
Mrs Lucy Mallory
Capt. Jim Mallory
David Humphreys Miller
Mrs Ellouise Gatewood