In 1956, the American CinemaScope epic film “The Conqueror” hit the big screen. The movie was produced by business magnate and film tycoon Howard Hughes, and starred John Wayne as the Mongol leader Genghis Khan. The movie details Genghis Khan’s love for Bortai—the daughter of a rival tribe—whom he steals away, causing a war. Once the movie hit theaters, it was clear it was cursed.
For the pioneer of the mid-1800s leaving life behind to verify whispers of gold out west, the scene must've been something spectacular. In many cases, the ordinary family farm wagon was modified for the trip: hickory bows were affixed to the wagon bed and a canvas cloth was stretched over the top. The wagons in those days became known as prairie schooners, due to the cover’s resemblance to a boat’s sail.