Filmed on location at the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, Kit Carson is an action-packed Western based on the story of a real-life 19th-century scout and tracker. The strong cast is led by Jon Hall and Dana Andrews as two men fighting hostile Indian tribes and for the affections of Dolores Murphy (Lynn Bari), while there's also a rare opportunity to see TV's The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) unmasked. And, although many Navajo Indians were used as extras in the film, the role of the Indian Chief actually went to a Hawaiian, Al Kikumi.
The action begins at Fort Bridger, a stopping post on the long and arduous trail to California. The fort's commander, John C Fremont (Dana Andrews), asks scout Kit Carson (Jon Hall) to guide a party of settlers, including Dolores, to the western state. Kit, sore at recently losing a substantial number of furs, refuses but then recants and sets off in pursuit of the group. He locates them, but they are soon under attack from Indians. Fremont and Carson disagree about the best route forward, and it's only thanks to Kit's quick thinking that the group is able to evade a trap set for them in the mountains. Arriving at the promised land in celebratory mood, Fremont and Carson continue their contest for the hand of Murphy, but this becomes secondary when they are all forced to protect themselves from marauding Mexicans intent on claiming California for themselves.
Although Kit Carson is relatively unknown in the UK, he remains a hero in the USA, with Carson City in Arizona named in his honour. Director George B Seitz keeps this tribute moving at a brisk pace and creates a distinct air of menace throughout.