Jettisoning the tomahawk and scalp in favour of a more controversial enemy, Santa Fe follows the aftermath of the American Civil War, as a nation tried to find its feet and unite.
Britt Canfield (Randolph Scott) leaves the defeated south to find work. With him are his brothers Terry (Jerome Courtland), Tom (Peter Thompson) and Clint (John Archer), embittered at the Yankee victory and disappointed when Britt accepts a job at the Sante Fe railroad. Cole Sanders (Roy Roberts) encounters the remaining brothers, persuading them to join him in gambling and robbery. They plan to hit a lucrative, easy target: the railroad. As brother turns on brother they set out, unaware of the fight that lays ahead and the bitter struggle that will see family loyalty give way to justice.
Sanctifying the rail pioneers was nothing new for Hollywood, a town whose fortune was built thanks to transport innovations. But Irving Pichel adds a deeper song to his paean in following the fortunes of the Canfield clan. Gamet’s screenplay balances character and action expertly, with the set-piece robbery allowing for cops-and-robbers gunplay and fraternal fighting at the same time. Pichel deals well with the troubling Civil War theme, being careful not to take sides or cheapen history.
USA / 1951
Director: Irving Pichel
Writer: Kenneth Gamet (from the novel by James Marshall and story by Louis Stevens)
Cast: Randolph Scott, Janis Carter, Jerome Courtland, Peter Thompson, John Archer, Warner Anderson, Roy Roberts, Billy House