Joel McCrea stars! A spoiled, rich young man gets lost in the desert and meets a cowboy who makes him join a cattle drive headed for Santa Fe. Now, he’ll learn about values and grit – or die trying!

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Cattle Drive

Starring Joel McCrea and Dean Stockwell! Filmed in Death Valley and Utah in glorious Technicolor, this film was one of Joel McCrea’s personal favorites!

Chester Graham Jr. is the spoiled, lazy, attention-seeking son of a railroad magnate. As Chester Sr. and his son travel west aboard one of their trains, Chester Jr. does his best to get his father’s attention. However, when he overhears that he’s about to be shipped off to boarding school, the young man gets off the train during a water stop and wanders into the desert hills.


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Hopelessly lost, frightened, and hungry, Chester Jr. tumbles down a hill – straight into the path of a cattle driver named Dan Matthews. Dan is not exactly pleased to see him because he’s kept him from roping a stallion he’s been trying to catch for hours.

Unrepentant, young Chester demands that Dan lead him to Santa Fe to meet his father’s train, but Dan refuses. Instead, Chester follows Dan back to his camp in the hopes that he will be led back to safety.

Cattle DriveTo Chester’s surprise, trail boss Cap explains that if he wants to eat, he has to work.  He refuses, and spends the day sulking instead, which causes him to miss out on dinner. When Dan finds him crying later, he realizes that Chester’s “tough guy” façade is all an act. Dan sees himself in the young man and shares a meal with him as he tells him about his own dreams of owning a horse farm.

The next day, Chester surprises everyone when he willingly helps the camp cook with breakfast and impresses the other cowboys when he rides an angry bronco. But Santa Fe is still far away…and Chester still causes a whole lot of problems.

Will this young, spoiled rich boy ever learn cowboy ethics or the values of honor, teamwork, and grit? Will he learn to choose the right way to do things, or always opt for the easy way out?

And does he have what it takes to survive the dangers of the desert…and the ardor of the trail?