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Allegheny Uprising

Allegheny Uprising (released in the UK as The First Rebel) is an American 1939 film produced by RKO Pictures, and starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne. Based on the 1937 novel The First Rebel by Neil H. Swanson, with a screenplay by the film's producer, P. J. Wolfson, and directed by William A. Seiter, the film is loosely based on the historical event known as the Black Boys Rebellion of 1765, after the conclusion of the French and Indian War.

Clad in buckskin and a coonskin cap (as he would be a decade later in The Fighting Kentuckian), Wayne plays real-life James Smith, an American coping with British rule in colonial America. The supporting cast includes Brian Donlevy, George Sanders (The Saint) and Chill Wills. Claire Trevor and John Wayne also headed the cast of John Ford's Stagecoach the same year, and in Allegheny Uprising Trevor is top-billed over Wayne, due to her greater name value at the time.

The film did not fare well in its initial release. The superficially similar John Ford film Drums Along the Mohawk had been released only one week prior. In the United Kingdom, where the film kept the original title, it was initially banned by the Ministry of Information for placing the British, already at war against Nazi Germany, in a bad light.


Claire Trevor as Janie John Wayne as Jim Smith
George Sanders as Captain Swanson Brian Donlevy as Callendar
Wilfrid Lawson as MacDougall Robert Barrat as Duncan
John F. Hamilton as Professor Moroni Olsen as Calhoon
Eddie Quillan as Anderson Chill Wills as M'Cammon
Ian Wolfe as Poole Wallis Clark as McGlashan
Monte Montague as Morris Olaf Hytten as General Gage
Eddy Waller as Jailer Clay Clement as John Penn
Earl Askam as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited) Stanley Blystone as Settler at McDowell's Mill (uncredited)
Horace B. Carpenter as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited) Jess Cavin as Colonial Farmer (uncredited)
Tom Coleman as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited) Forrest Dillon as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited)
Ralph Dunn as Briggs, Carlisle Jail Turnkey (uncredited) Jesse Graves as Governor's Servant (uncredited)
Lew Harvey as Settler at McDowell's Mill (uncredited) Leyland Hodgson as Trial Judge Who Protests (uncredited)
Noble Johnson as Captured Delaware Native American (uncredited) Carl Knowles as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited) Tom London as Settler at McDowell's Mill (uncredited)
Robert McKenzie as Tavern Cook (uncredited) Charles Middleton as Dr. Stoke (uncredited)
Clive Morgan as English Sergeant (uncredited) Jack O'Shea as One of Callendar's Men (uncredited)
Bud Osborne as One of Jim's Black Boys (uncredited) Douglas Spencer as Prisoner in Irons (uncredited)


Henry Wills - uncredited
Depictions of historical persons and events

The historical events in this film, while it is a work of fiction, has a lot on non-fiction in the story line.
Our very own Indians War under this title is the main theme.
In British colonial America, Captain Swanson's adherence to the rules results in Trader Callendar's selling to the Indians under cover of a government permit. Jim Smith won't sit still for that. He organizes troopers to dress up as Indians and intercept the shipments which, of course, gets him thrown in jail.

Main Plot

In the south western Pennsylvania area of colonial America in the 1760s, colonial distaste and disapproval of the British government is starting to surface. Many local colonists have been killed by American Indians, who are armed with rifles supplied by white traders. Local adventurer James Smith (John Wayne) and his followers complain to British officials, pressuring them to make it illegal to trade weapons to the native population. Trader Ralph Callender (Brian Donlevy) and other businessmen are not happy with the new law, as it cuts into their profit. They continue to trade with the local native American population, hiding rifles and rum inside military supply trains. When the British authorities fail to do anything to prevent this, James Smith organizes his men and heads out to intercept the wagon train. Smith's spirited and bold girlfriend, Janie McDougall (Claire Trevor), assists him and his men in posing as Indians to intercept the gun shipments.

Captain Swanson, a British army officer, is sent to protect the wagon train at all costs, following a complaint lodged by Callender that Smith and his men intend to rob the wagon train, while neglecting to state that the train contains guns and liquor. Captain Swanson considers the involvement of Smith and his men as a revolt against his authority, and in retaliation he jails more than half of the local colonists, holding them without trial. This sets Smith and Swanson on a collision course.

run time: 1 hours 21 minutes
sorry for the sound at first, it gets better

above notes from Uprising
poster image: same
movie: DAV FL 70 Webmaster private collection

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