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The film begins with the following written foreword: "The courage and strength of the men and women who settled the United States in the westward movement of the Nineteenth Century has become an honored and legendary part of our history. The pioneering spirit of these people, remarkable as it was, could not have proved so effective without direction and guidance. A handful of men, known as wagonmasters, made it their business to guide pioneer families westward across the mountains and the plains. Whatever their motives might have been in choosing such careers, the fact remains that without them our colonization of the West would have taken a lot longer than it did. This is the story of one such wagonmaster-Jeff Curtis."