Western Union tells the story of the construction of the telegraph wire extension between Omaha and Salt Lake City during the period of the American Civil War. The telegraph line has to pass through hostile Indian country and face Confederate renegades and outlaws who are intent on preventing the telegraph link up between the east and the west by destroying the line for their own gains. Western Union stars Randolph Scott as Vance Shaw, a reformed outlaw who joins the company as a surveyor and scout to protect them from Indian attacks, Robert Young as Richard Blake, a young engineer from the east with little understanding of the west, and Dean Jagger as Edward Creighton, the determined chief engineer - the man in charge of the laying of the telegraph wires. Virginia Gilmore makes several brief appearances as Sue Creighton, Edward Creighton's younger sister who immediately attracts the attention of Vance Shaw and Richard Blake.
When the westward telegraph extension begins and the wagon train moves out Edward Creighton is unaware that his new, trusted surveyor Vance Shaw has a brother Jack Slade, played by Barton MacLane, who leads a gang of ruthless outlaws claiming to be fighting on behalf of the Confederacy. Shortly after construction begins, Western Union's horses are stolen and driven off by the outlaws. The next day Edward Creighton, Vance Shaw and Richard Blake ride into the nearest town to replace the stolen horses. As soon as they arrive they discover that Jack Slade is offering the stolen horses for sale claiming that he bought them from the Indians. Without any proof that Slade's gang stole the horses, Western Union had to pay to get their own horses back. As Western Union's construction continues attacks mount on the crew and they encounter further incidents of theft, Indian attacks and a devastating fire started by Jack Slade's gang. The story of Western Union continues...
Western Union is sometimes referred to as the forgotten western probably because of its age. It is a fast moving, action-packed film considered by many to be one of the best cowboy epics ever made and very exciting to watch. Randolph Scott gives a terrific performance as Vance Shaw, a man trying to escape his outlaw past and build a new future. Dean Jagger also gives a terrific and convincing performance as the determined boss of Western Union. Barton MacLaine's performance as the outlaw leader Jack Slade is excellent and is actually, in part, based on a real person in the history of the west. Western Union is a fine example of early Technicolor and filmed in southern Utah.
Film and Movie Information
Western Union was released by 20th Century Fox in 1941 and was directed by Fritz Lang. The prncipal stars were Randolph Scott, Robert Young and Dean Jagger. The movie was filmed in Technicolor in Southern Utah, United States.