The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok

The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1938) is a Columbia Pictures movie serial. It was the fourth of the 57 serials released by Columbia and the studio's first Western serial. The serial was the first to be produced by Columbia personnel; Columbia's previous three serials had been produced by the independent Weiss Brothers company, using Columbia's facilities.

The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
Directed by
Written by
Produced by
Edited byRichard Fantl
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 30, 1938 (1938-06-30)
Running time
15 chapters
CountryUnited States


Wild Bill Hickok, U.S. Marshal in Abilene, Kansas, is sent to stop the mysterious "Phantom Riders" from disrupting the cattle drives across the Chisholm Trail and construction of a new railroad.




The serial was shot on location in Utah (Johnson Canyon, Three Lakes, and Parry Lodge).[1]:287 The production budget was an exceptional $200,000, this when the average western feature cost $10,000 to produce, and the film featured a great deal of elaborate outdoor scenes, including cattle drives and stampedes.


The Motion Picture Herald called this serial "a compliment to its title."[2] It became a huge success in theaters, according to a tally published in Motion Picture Herald and Film Daily.[3] The serial firmly established Columbia as a major serial producer, and Gordon Elliott as a western star. Elliott became so identified with the Wild Bill Hickok role that Columbia changed his name to Bill Elliott, and promoted him to feature films as a character named "Wild Bill Saunders" and then "Wild Bill Hickok." In addition to his screen name, he gained such trademarks as buckskins, reversed holsters and the catchphrase "I'm a peaceable man," from this serial.[2]

Chapter titlesEdit

  1. The Law of the Gun
  2. Stampede
  3. Blazing Terror
  4. Mystery Canyon
  5. Flaming Brands
  6. The Apache Killer
  7. Prowling Wolves
  8. The Pit
  9. Ambush
  10. Savage Vengeance
  11. Burning Waters
  12. Desperation
  13. Phantom Bullets
  14. The Lure
  15. Trail's End


  1. ^ D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
  2. ^ a b Stedman, Raymond William (1971). "5. Shazam and Good-by". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 121. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.
  3. ^ Quigley, Martin (1940). The Film Daily (January 2, 1940). Quigley Publishing, Inc. p. 2.

External linksEdit