The Golden Age of Hollywood

Cagney wasn’t entirely happy with the way the project turned out. In his 1976 autobiography Cagney by Cagney, he described how the project started: “The picture was an idea of [writer] Ted Paramore’s, who conceived of doing the story of the mountain men, particularly of their paragon, Kit Carson. We researched it and I came up with some things I wanted to do, pretty exciting things, I thought. Warner’s, without warning pulled Paramore off the script and without a word to me, changed directors. When I got the final script it had as much to do with history as the Katzenjammer Kids. It had become typical horse opera, just another programmer.” Bogart, profiled in the New York Times just before the film’s release, seemed not all that wild about it. “I speak the same lines and do the same things as I do in any other Warner picture. The only difference is that I snarl at the Injuns from under a ten-gallon hat.” Actually, Cagney’s hat is significantly larger than Bogart’s. Bogart seemed preoccupied by the hats; he was famously quoted as saying that “Cagney looked like a mushroom under [his] huge western hat.”

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