John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »
As Mormon settlers head to the promised land at the San Juan river in Utah, they hire horse traders Travis Blue and Sandy as wagon masters. They have to forge a trail across unknown territory and face many hardships along the way. They quickly come across some stranded travelers, a medicine show run by Dr. A. Locksley Hall which includes the attractive Denver. Along the way however, they are also joined by Shiloh Clegg and his murderous clan of robbers and thieves. An encounter with the Navajo leads to an invitation to their camp but after one of the Clegg boys gets a whipping for attacking one of the Navajo women, Uncle Shiloh plans his revenge. It's left to Sandy and Travis to protect the travelers and get them to their destination.Written by
In the scene where Travis (Ben Johnson) gets bucked off his horse after Denver (Joanne Dru) throws water on it, Ben Johnson did his own stunts. They used a genuine rodeo bucking horse and John Ford promised Johnson if he rode the horse, he would not have to do any dialogue for the day, which apparently pleased Johnson. He lasted four bucks and came off so hard, he was almost knocked out. Unfortunately, the shot was ruined by one of the wranglers running out to him and asking if he was all right as he lay on the ground. Johnson had to get up and ride the horse again. This time he lasted ten bucks before he bailed off, and Ford got his shot. See more »
During the dance, when done going around in a circle, Travis has his hand on Denver's waist, in the next shot it is on her shoulder. See more »
Sure hope that I see you again, Miss Denver.
Thanks, but don't plan on it, We move around. The medicine show has to, to stay healthy.
We move around a lot trading horses. Good thing about it, though, you get to see a lot of pretty country, like the valley I got in mind. A man can make an awfully nice little cattle ranch in that valley. If he doesn't mind being lonesome.
Good luck, fellow.
[She runs away, blinded by tears]
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Although Ford's movie only really starts halfway through, once the traveling folk and the outlaws meet, the second half of the film is strong enough that the lengthy roundabout beginning is almost forgotten. The outlaws are plain stereotypes, painted very similar to the Clantons in 'My Darling Clementine', but the intense interactions between them and the traveling folk are worth watching for. Oddly enough, the depth of the film does not lie in the happenings between them but rather in the singing and dancing featured. Song and dance is shown as a uniting force between very different cultures, and the songs of the film are very well suited to the Old West atmosphere. The film is a mix of different things: there is a typical predictable love interest, awkward bits of humour, and of course men slinging guns. Then there is the plot of outlaws against the good guys and the almost non-related deeper ideas about bonding between different people. The overall product is rather strange and certainly not one of John Ford's strongest efforts. That said, it is good viewing once it gets going, and Ford captures the vast western landscape as well as one would expect.
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