James Cruze revived the western genre and presented audiences with the first western epic in the spectacular 1923 film The Covered Wagon, chronicling the largest wagon train to ever cross the valley of the Platte River. The film takes place in 1848, when two wagon trains -- one led by Jesse Wingate (Charles Ogle), the other by Will Banion (J. Warren Kerrigan) -- as they travel from Kansas City, over the Oregon Trail, to destinations in California and Oregon. As the wagons make their way over the tortuous trail, many obstacles are encountered -- the crossing of the Platte River, an Indian attack, and a prairie fire. On the way to California, human stories unfold -- the most prominent of which revolves around Will and Molly Wingate (Lois Wilson). Molly's fiancé, Sam Woodhull (Alan Hale), out to discredit Will, succeeds in having Will and his wagons banished from the train and head off to the California gold fields. By that point, Molly has fallen in love with Will and sends Jackson (Ernest Torrence) to find him.