Films set during America's colonial era seldom did well at the box office, and Allegheny Uprising was no exception. John Wayne and Claire Trevor, stars of the recent western hit Stagecoach, are reteamed herein as 18th
century adventurer James Smith and his spitfire sweetheart Janie. Taking every opportunity to defy the edicts of the King of England, Smith and his ragtag followers, "The Black Boys," undermine the despotic regime of provincial governor Captain Swanson (George Sanders). To quell Smith's uprising, Swanson arrests nearly half the colonists and holds them without trial or recourse (he doesn't sport a black mustache and shout "Seig Heil," but audiences in 1939 knew exactly who Swanson was supposed to be). In depicting the English in an unsympathetic light, RKO Radio Pictures committed a major political blunder, inasmuch as the British were then engaged in their own struggle against Nazi tyranny. Fearful that the film would offend English viewers, RKO president George J. Schaefer consulted British producer Herbert Wilcox, who suggested a number of judicious cuts and line alterations in the film. Even so, Allegheny Uprising (originally The Last Rebel, also the title of the Neil H. Swanson novel on which it was based) failed to make a dent in the box-offices on either side of the Atlantic.