Based on the novel By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman, this was the last Disney film directed by James Neilsen, who also made Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow; The Moon-Spinners; Summer Magic; Gentle Giant and Moon Pilot for the studio. It also boasts songs by the Sherman Brothers, who produced more movie scores than any other songwriting team in history. They’re best known for their songs from Mary Poppins as well as one of the most performed songs of all time, “It’s a Small World (After All).”
After Jack (Bryan Russell) and Arabella Flagg (Suzanne Pleshette) are orphaned in Boston, Jack and the family butler Eric “Bullwhip” Griffin (Roddy McDowall) head for the gold rush in San Francisco. Jack is obsessed with the books he’s been reading about the Wild West, which leads them across the country and into the orbit of the villainous Judge Higgins (Karl Malden).
Wrestling fans will enjoy seeing Mike Mazurki, who in addition to being a grappler and a heavy in plenty of movies, was also the first president of the Cauliflower Alley Club, an association of professional wrestlers. He plays Mountain Ox, who boxes against McDowall.
And Disney history fans will get to see Jimmy MacDonald, the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1988, as a percussionist in the saloon scenes.