The Conquerors (1932 film)

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The Conquerors
Directed by William Wellman
Produced by David O. Selznick
Written by Robert Lord
Story by Howard Estabrook
Starring Richard Dix
Ann Harding
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Edward Cronjager
Edited by William Hamilton
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • November 18, 1932 (1932-11-18)
Running time
80-86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $619,000[1]
Box office $528,000[1]

The Conquerors is a 1932 American Pre-Code Western film starring Richard Dix and Ann Harding, and directed by William A. Wellman. A young couple move to the American West and build a banking empire.


The film begins in a prospering New York in 1873. Lowly bank clerk Roger Standish is fired from his job after he is caught 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. Undismayed, Caroline offers to marry Roger and proposes that they travel west in search of new opportunities.

While traveling through Nebraska on a raft Roger is shot during the course of a robbery by a gang. Taken to the nearby town of Fort Allen, he is operated on successfully by the town's doctor, Dan L. Blake, who though a drunkard proves competent. As Roger recovers, Caroline is inspired by the town’s generosity to them to open a bank there. With the help of Blake and his wife, Standish Bank is an instant success, and Caroline soon gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

As Fort Allen prospers, the possibility of being bypassed by the railroad threatens its growth. Roger and Caroline succeed in convincing the railroad's president to include Fort Allen on the route, by the arrival of the first train is marred by the death of their son after an inebriated Doc Blake crashes the carriage in which they were riding at a crossing right in the train’s path. Though they mourn their loss, Roger and Caroline’s daughter grows into a beautiful young woman, who marries Warren Lennox, one of the employees in Standish's bank.

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 because of a run on its deposits. Lennox commits suicide just as Roger’s grandchild, Roger Standish Lennox, is born. The young boy grows up in a world of technological marvels, and after America’s entry into World War I becomes a decorated fighter pilot. While watching him in a victory parade after the Armistice, however, Caroline dies.

The decade that follows is one of great growth. The Standish National Bank, having survived the hard times of the 1890s, is thriving once again under Lennox’s management. When the stock market crash of 1929 brings the good times to an end, however, Lennox approaches the now-elderly Standish to sign papers dissolving his multimillion-dollar trust fund so that Lennox can put the money into the bank. As Standish signs the papers, Lennox expresses his optimism that the country would recover and reach new heights, filling his grandfather with pride at both Lennox’s responsibility and his faith in America’s future.


According to RKO records, the film made a loss of $230,000.[1]



Richard Dix plays the main character Roger Standish and late in the film plays the part of Standish's grown son.


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57

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