Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Setting off on a journey to the west in the 1830s, the Prescott family run into a man named Linus, who helps them fight off a pack of thieves. Linus then marries daughter Eve Prescott (Carroll Baker), and 30 years later goes off to fight in the Civil War with their son, with bloody results. Eve's sister, Lily, heads farther west and has adventures with a professional gambler, stretching all the way to San Francisco and into the 1880s.Written by
John Ford's habit was to always sit beside the camera while it was filming, so he could watch the action intently. Unfortunately, because of the triple lens on the Cinerama camera, he kept appearing in shots until director of photography Joseph LaShelle hit on the idea of building a rig that allowed Ford to sit above the camera. See more »
(at around 31 mins) The sign for the California wagon train lists Roger Ward as wagonmaster, but the wagonmaster, played by Robert Preston, is actually named Roger Morgan. See more »
[as the camera pans over the Rocky Mountains]
This land has a name today, and is marked on maps. But, the names and the marks and the maps all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.
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Opening credits: Except for historical events and characters, the events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. See more »
Early UK video versions were cut by 2 secs to remove a horsefall. Later widescreen releases are uncut. See more »
I have loved this movie since I saw its original theatrical release. The new (2009) DVD release finally does it justice. Digital stitching technology has made the 3-part Cinerama image almost literally seamless. In fact there is less distortion where the frames meet than there was in the original theatrical screening. And for the first time in a video release the full width of the Cinerama screen has been captured. About a third of each of the two side images was missing in previous video versions. This version is so wide that a wide-screen HDTV still requires black bars at top and bottom to fit the image on the screen.
Yes, there are moments we wish we could re-write, such as the narrator's reference to "primitive" people. This is balanced, however, by an unusually fair (for the time) treatment of the plight of the plains Indians. The movie holds up remarkably well, thanks to a well- written script and strong performances by a large A-list cast. With the exception of a scene in which Debbie Reynolds breaks into a song-and- dance number in a wagon-train encampment (the excuse being that her character is a singer) there is almost nothing that betrays the era when the film was made. Well, there is the fact that most of the cast members are long dead.
As a professional historian, I have to say that the almost complete absence of reference to specific historical events (except the battle of Shiloh) is part of the secret of the film's success. This is a movie that captures the myth of the American west, a myth that is still alive and powerful.
This movie was made for the biggest screen ever, prior to the Imax era. The absence of true close-up shots (a limitation of the Cinerama process) is more noticeable on a smaller screen. It deserves to be seen on the biggest wide-screen TV you can find. And it does deserve to be seen.
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