Slaughter Trail
Original film poster
Directed byIrving Allen
Screenplay bySid Kuller
Produced byIrving Allen
StarringBrian Donlevy
Gig Young
Virginia Grey
Andy Devine
Terry Gilkyson
Robert Hutton
CinematographyJack Greenhalgh
Edited byFred Allen
Justal Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 11, 1951 (1951-10-11) (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

Slaughter Trail is a 1951 Cinecolor Western film produced and directed by Irving Allen, filmed in Corriganville and released by RKO Pictures.


A trio of masked bandits rob a stagecoach secretly assisted by one of the passengers. The fleeing bandits come across some unarmed Navajo who they shoot and steal their horses. One of the Navajo survives and informs the tribe who sets his tribe on the warpath against all whites. The commander of the US Cavalry fort who is friendly with the Navajo chief is caught in the middle.

Main cast


The film was made in 1950 and was originally to have been released through Eagle-Lion but was picked up for release by RKO.[2]

Originally the film was shot with Howard Da Silva in the lead. After he was accused of Communist leanings, RKO ordered DaSilva's scenes reshot with Brian Donlevy.[3]

Allen reshot the film in three days and sold it to RKO for $200,000.[4]

Like High Noon, Slaughter Trail has continuing ballads throughout the film that ask and answer questions as well as narrate the story.[5] It may be debated whether the film was made "straight," or was satiric, due to the even then well known Western set pieces such as a stagecoach holdup, Indian attacks, and the army standing between hostile Indians and townspeople being commented on by songs that often break the fourth wall. The writer of the film Sid Kuller was a well known comedy writer and also wrote some of the film's songs. One of the film's songs I Wish I Was became a hit song of the year.


  1. ^ "Slaughter Trail: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  2. ^ p.936 Gevinson, Alan & American Film Instituted Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Films 1911-1960 1997 University of California
  3. ^ p.107 Magers, Boyd & Fitzgerald, Michael G Western Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Film and Television 2004 McFarland
  4. ^ Allen at Helm of Production Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 6 July 1967: e14.
  5. ^ p.49McFarlane, Brian & Mayer, Geoff New Australian Cinema: Sources and Parallels in American and British Film 1992 Cambridge University Press