Conquerors, The (1932): Wellman’s Pre-Code Western, Starring Richard Dix and Ann Harding

William A. Wellman directed The Conquerors, a Pre-Code Western, starring Richard Dix and Ann Harding as a young couple who move out West and build banking empire.

The film begins in New York City in 1873. Lowly bank clerk Roger Standish is fired from his job after courting Caroline Ogden, the daughter of the bank’s president.

The failure of Ogden’s bank in the Panic of 1873 brings about her father’s collapse and death. Caroline offers to marry Roger and suggests they travel west in search of new opportunities.

The prosperous times come to an end with the depression of the 1890s. Overextended because of poor judgement by Roger’s son-in-law, the Standish National Bank is forced to close. Lennox commits suicide just as Roger’s grandchild, Roger Standish Lennox, is born.

After America’s entry into World War I, he becomes a decorated fighter pilot. While watching him in a victory parade after the Armistice, however, Caroline dies.

The Standish National Bank, having survived the 1890s, is thriving again under Lennox’s management. When the stock market crash of 1929 occurs, however, Lennox approaches the elderly Standish to sign papers dissolving his trust fund so that Lennox can put the money into the bank. As Standish signs the papers, Lennox expresses optimism about the future of the country.


I am grateful to TCM, which showed the film on December 4, 2019.