Although superficially comparable with cattle drive Westerns like Red River, the emphasis in this film is on the cooperative nature of the enterprise - a cattle drive from Northern Australia in 1942 to escape the Japanese - rather than on notions of individualism at the centre of the western ethos. Starring Chips Rafferty, The Overlanders is a documentary in spirit, recreating the hazards of an epic drive and carefully assembling the mannerisms, vocabulary and attitudes to characterize the Australian bushman. There was also a strong role for a woman - Daphne Campbell as Mary Parsons - carrying on the tradition of the bush heroine established in Australian films of the twenties and thirties. Based on an actual cattle drive of 1942 organised by the government of Northern Australia to remove supplies from the reach of the Japanese. Cast also includes John Nugent Hayward.
How to watch
In ACMI's collection
Black and White
16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)