In the 1840s, frontier scout Jim Stockton (Jim Davis) is hired to lead a wagon train down the Oregon Trail. Accompanying him and the settlers are a group of calvarymen, commanded by Lt. Kilkpatrick (Don Kelly). When the wagon train is attacked by a group of Native Americans who have been given rifles by Mexican soldiers, Stockton can’t figure out why, When he suggests that the settlers take an alternative route through California (which was then controlled by Mexico), Kilkpatrick explains that such a detour would be considered an act of war and that he and his men cannot be a part of it. What Stockton and Kilkpatrick don’t know (but soon find out) is that Mexico has already declared war on the United States. Complicating matters even further is that both men have fallen for a Mexican woman named Consuela (Nancy Hadley) and her loyalties are now in question.
A 68-mintue B-western, Frontier Uprising is mostly interesting because of the amount of stock footage that was used to try to make this low-budget film seem like an epic. For instance, when the rifle-bearing Natives attacked the settlers, I recognized a lot of footage from a lot of other movies. One particular shot, of a wounded Native falling off of his horse, was used in so many films of the period that I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it. Much of the stock footage features Monument Valley prominently in the background, which suggests that Stockton was not doing a very good job of leading the settlers to Oregon.
Frontier Uprising is one of the 11 (!) films to be directed by Edward L. Cahn in 1961. Cahn is credited with directing 127 films over the course of 30 years. Some of them were good. Most, like Frontier Uprising, were competent but forgettable.