John Wayne and Donna Reed star! A disgraced football coach fights for custody of his daughter and starts a new job at a poor Catholic college. Now the pressure is on—so what could possibly go wrong?


Trouble Along the Way (1953)

John Wayne, Donna Reed, and Charles Coburn star! You know and love Donna Reed for her iconic roles in It’s a Wonderful Life, The Donna Reed Show, and Dallas. Now, get ready to fall in love with her all over again as she teams up with The Duke in this charming, funny, and delightful movie!

Steve Williams was once a great football coach, but now he’s just a down-and-out bookie going through an awful divorce and working out of a pool hall with his young daughter, Carol, by his side. So, when the rector of St. Anthony’s College comes to Steve and offers him a job as head coach of the football team, Steve is completely uninterested. The college is poor, and on the verge of bankruptcy; the players are terrible, and they don’t even have money for equipment.

But his feelings change when a Social Services worker named Alice Singleton shows up and tells him she’s investigating him for being an unfit father—a claim lodged against him by his former wife, Anne McCormick. Anne has told Alice that Steve neglects his daughter, and she now wants sole custody.

Desperate to keep custody of Carol and land a more respectable job, Steve accepts Father Burke’s offer. He and his daughter move into rooms on the college campus, and Steve starts to take stock of the challenges ahead. Soon enough, he is overwhelmed. The facilities are on their last legs, the players are all scrawny and slow, and without the equipment they need, how will they ever compete?

To top everything off, Alice announces that she’s writing a report in Anne’s favor. She’s taken an immediate dislike to Steve, since he reminds her of her own cold and distant father. For his part, Steve decides to try and charm her since he needs Alice on his side —or else he could lose his daughter to a mother who, Steve is certain, doesn’t even want her.

Meanwhile, Father Burke is so excited that he plans out a season that includes games with big Catholic colleges like Villanova and Notre Dame. Now, Steve is even more desperate to make St. Anthony’s College football team successful.

Carol begs her father not to give up, and he soon gets to work. He hires two former assistants, uses dubious means to get bigger, better football players on the team, and finally gets his hands on all the equipment his team needs.

Steve really needs a big win. But will his gamble pay off—or will it cost him his livelihood, his budding relationship with Alice, and custody of his daughter?