The Way West

  • 1967
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Western

An extraordinarily predictable and uninviting western directed by McLaglen in the John Ford vein but with none of the Ford atmosphere, complexity, characterization, or inventiveness. Only in its visualization of the western expanse and picturesque rendering of Oregon Trail country does the film come close to its goal. The story--based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning...read more

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An extraordinarily predictable and uninviting western directed by McLaglen in the John Ford vein but with none of the Ford atmosphere, complexity, characterization, or inventiveness. Only in its visualization of the western expanse and picturesque rendering of Oregon Trail country does

the film come close to its goal. The story--based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (though you'd never know it)--describes a wagon train of pioneers from Missouri to Oregon. Douglas, a widowed senator, leads the pack with Mitchum, a trail scout with poor eyesight, second in command. The main

conflict centers on the escapades of newlywed husband Witney, who ignores his frigid wife and succumbs to the lure of the slatternly Field (in her first film role). He gets deeper into trouble when he accidentally kills an Indian boy camouflaged in a wolf skin, thinking he is a real wolf. In order

to avoid a battle with the Sioux, Douglas orders Witney hanged, shocking his fellow pioneers. The bitter widow gets revenge on Douglas later by cutting his rope as he descends a deep gorge. There are enough shallow subplots here to keep daytime-TV lovers happy for weeks (or months...or years) and

have western fans squirming in their seats until the end credits roll. The only saving grace is the fine (though admittedly uninspired) cast and the awesome photography. Costing over $5 million to produce, THE WAY WEST grossed a dismal $1.67 million at the box office, which goes to show that

audiences don't always see whatever's thrown at them.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: An extraordinarily predictable and uninviting western directed by McLaglen in the John Ford vein but with none of the Ford atmosphere, complexity, characterization, or inventiveness. Only in its visualization of the western expanse and picturesque renderin… (more)

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