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The Missouri Traveler

The Missouri Traveler
DVD Cover for The Missouri Traveler
Directed by Jerry Hopper
Produced by C. V. Whitney
Patrick Ford
Written by John Burress
Norman S. Hall
Starring Brandon deWilde
Lee Marvin
Gary Merrill
Paul Ford
Music by Jack Marshall
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch
Edited by Tom McAdoo
Distributed by Buena Vista Corporation
Release dates
  • January 21, 1958 (1958-01-21)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Missouri Traveler is a 1958 American coming-of-age period piece comedy-drama film directed by Jerry Hopper starring Brandon deWilde and Lee Marvin.[1][2] It is based on the novel of the same name by John Burress. The cinematography was by Technicolor developer Winton C. Hoch with harmonica and banjo score by Jack Marshall of The Munsters fame. The film was distributed by Disney's Buena Vista Corporation.

It is the second of only 3 films produced by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney's C. V. Whitney Pictures; the first being The Searchers in 1956 with John Wayne and directed by John Ford, the last being The Young Land in 1959 with Patrick Wayne and Dennis Hopper.

Whitney married Mary Hosford, whom he gave a prominent part in this film, the same year it was released. The following year, in 1959, deWilde's career would graduate to more adult themes in Blue Denim.


Cast of The Missouri Traveler includes (l to r) Frank Cady, Brandon deWilde, Lee Marvin, Gary Merrill and Paul Ford.

Brandon deWilde leads a cast lengthy in character actors playing subdued Biarn Turner, a 15-year-old runaway from the Eatondale Orphan Asylum bound for Florida in the post-World War I time period of 1926. He receives a ride into the rural Missouri town of Delphi with rich land-owner Tobias Brown (Lee Marvin). There, after an episode in the town square involving most of the populace, he meets crusty newspaper man Doyle Magee (Gary Merrill).

Both of these men share an interest in the polite and mature youth; one showing kindness, the other almost outright cruelty. Eventually, both of their reasonings become clear to the lad. At the same time, the whole town of Delphi comes to not only accept Biarn, but to embrace him as one of the town's own and his dream of becoming a farmer.

Highlights include a small-town 4th of July parade and celebration with a horse-trotting race and a head-to-head between Magee and Brown.


Home media

No less than six different releases of The Missouri Traveler were produced on VHS. Similarly, several DVD versions were released over the years, mainly as an inclusion in a multiple film "family pack". Presently, The Missouri Traveler is available in Region 0 DVD through Reel Enterprises and video on demand in standard pan and scan VHS conversion format. A new DVD of the film is scheduled for release on April 14, 2015, from VCI Entertainment (VCIV8793DVD), its elements as yet to be announced.


External links

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