Davy Crockett and the River Pirates

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Tom Blackburn and Norman Foster
Starring Fess Parker
Buddy Ebsen
Jeff York
Music by Thomas W. Blackburn (lyrics)
George Bruns
Edward H. Plumb (orchestration)
Edited by Stanley Johnson
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
July 18, 1956 (1956-07-18)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates is a 1956 live-action Walt Disney adventure film starring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. It was shot in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. This film acts as a prequel to 1955's Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and is an edited compilation of the fourth and fifth stories featuring the Disney television series Davy Crockett:

This is the ninth live-action film produced by Walt Disney Productions.


Keelboat Race

Davy Crockett and George "Georgie" Russell are loaded with pelts as they make their way to Maysville, Kentucky on the Ohio River after a successful season of trapping and hunting. There they encounter Mike Fink, blowhard captain of the keelboat Gullywhumper who refuses to take them downriver, unless they pay a ridiculously high fee. That evening, Fink gets Georgie drunk and convinces him to keelboat race down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, with the season's pelts as wager against two barrels of Fink's "Monongahela whiskey", as well as his own self-proclaimed title of "King of the River".

Crockett uses his celebrity to put together a crew for Capt. Cobb's keelboat Bertha Mae and the race begins. Overcoming numerous obstacles, including an Indian attack near Cave-In-Rock and Fink's dirty tricks, Crockett ultimately wins the race but amiably waives his claim on Fink's share of the wager. In gratitude, Fink offers them a free boat ride back upriver so Crockett and Russell can get home.

River Pirates

Fink drops Crockett and Russell off along the river, where they march inland to find friendly Chickasaw tribesmen to buy horses from. However, Crockett and Russell are captured by a Chickasaw hunting party and taken to their village. There, the chief informs them that white men have been murdering members of the Kaskaskia and that they are preparing to go to war for vengeance. Russell tells them that he and Davy witnessed an attack on Fink's keelboat coming downriver, but is told that the Kaskaskia were driven out of the area prior to the encounter. Crockett and Russell deduce that the attackers are in fact pirates masquerading as Indians. Having also heard of Crockett's fame and friendly relations with Indians, the chief releases them, promising to keep peace if the pirates are brought to justice.

Returning to the river, Crockett and Russell reunite with Fink, who agrees to help them take on the pirates. They find a crewless keelboat drifting downriver bristling with crudely made arrows and virtually all its supplies missing, having been raided by the pirates. Worried the pirates will refrain from attacking because of their successful defense from before, they disguise Fink's boat and pose as a captain and banker hauling Spanish gold. Stopping at towns along the Ohio, they brag about their rich cargo to tempt the pirates into action. The tale attracts a traveling minstrel named Colonel Plug, who asks to ride along to the next town. Crockett, who correctly suspects Plug is in cahoots with the pirates, allows him aboard.

Plug entertains Fink and the crew with some music. He sings very loudly, the lyrics telling the hidden pirates ashore about the gold. Led by Samuel Mason and the Harpe brothers, the pirates prepare to attack from Cave-In-Rock. Plug is subdued when he discovers the truth. The pirates attack as Indians again and the crew successfully defends the boat. The Mason and the Harpe brothers retreat, pursued to the cave by Crockett and Russell. In the ensuing fight, the Harpe brothers are both subdued. A keg of gunpowder explodes, sealing the cave and killing Mason. Crockett and Russell once again part ways with Fink and head for home.



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