Davy Crockett and the River Pirates

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates is a 1956 American adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is an edited compilation of the last two episodes of the Davy Crockett television miniseries, Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, starring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett.

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates
Directed byNorman Foster
Produced byBill Walsh
Written byTom Blackburn and Norman Foster
StarringFess Parker
Buddy Ebsen
Jeff York
Music byThomas W. Blackburn (lyrics)
George Bruns
Edward H. Plumb (orchestration)
Edited byStanley Johnson
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
July 18, 1956 (1956-07-18)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was shot in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. It is a prequel to Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, which consists of the previous three episodes of the Davy Crockett series.


Keelboat Race

Tennessee frontiersman Davy Crockett and his best friend Georgie Russell are transporting pelts to Maysville, Kentucky after a successful season of trapping and hunting. On the Ohio River, they encounter Mike Fink, the self-proclaimed "king of the river". Fink refuses to take Crockett and Russell downriver on his keelboat unless they pay his toll, which they cannot afford.

Fink challenges Crockett and Russell to a keelboat race to New Orleans, with the pelts and Fink's title as the stakes. Crockett uses his celebrity to organize his own keelboat crew for the race, which he wins despite numerous obstacles and Fink's cheating. Crockett allows Fink to keep his title, and Fink graciously gives him and Russell a ride downriver for free.

River Pirates

Fink drops Crockett and Russell off along the river, where they seek out Chickasaw traders to buy horses from. A Chickasaw hunting party captures them and takes them to their village, where they are preparing to go to war against white men for murdering Kaskaskia tribesmen. Crockett and Russell, having witnessed an earlier attack on Fink's keelboat but being told the Kaskaskia were driven out of the area prior, deduce that the attackers are in fact pirates masquerading as Native Americans. Crockett and Russell agree to bring the pirates to justice in exchange for peace and are released.

Fink agrees to help Crockett and Russell by posing as a banker hauling Spanish gold and stopping at various towns along the Ohio River to brag in order to draw the pirates out. The group attracts a traveling minstrel named Colonel Plug, whom Crockett agrees to take to the next town. Crockett correctly suspects Plug is in league with the pirates, led by Samuel Mason and the Harpe brothers, who are hiding at Cave-in-Rock. Plug notifies the pirates of the gold through song, but is subdued when he discovers the truth. The pirates attack, but Fink's crew defends the boat successfully. Crockett and Russell pursue Mason and the Harpe brothers to their cave hideout, where they subdue the Harpe brothers. A keg of gunpowder explodes, sealing the cave and killing Mason. Having made peace, Crockett and Russell again part ways with Fink and head for home.



  • "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" – Lyrics by Tom Blackburn, Music by George Bruns, sung by The Wellingtons
  • "King of the River" – Lyrics by Tom Blackburn, Music by George Bruns, sung by Jeff York
  • "Yaller, Yaller Gold" – Lyrics by Tom Blackburn, Music by George Bruns, sung by Walter Catlett and The Wellingtons
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