THE FAR HORIZONS is a solid, if not quite historically accurate, adventure that excitingly portrays the explorations of Lewis and Clark (1803-06) and profiles the very different personalities of the partners, who trekked from St. Louis to the great Northwest to reach the Pacific Ocean.
Heston is Clark, the tough military officer who will not compromise with either the elements or the Indians; MacMurray portrays the taciturn, scientific Lewis, the great cartographer who placed loyalty to his mission above personal disappointment. Reed is the famed Sacajawea, who led the intrepid
explorers to their destination. To add dramatic conflict to this filmic expedition, the film shows Heston and MacMurray at odds almost from the beginning. They both compete for Hale's affections, with Heston winning the battle before the men begin their journey into the unknown, leaving MacMurray
resentful. MacMurray becomes further vexed when his truculent partner gains the love of Reed. Breaking up the internal bickering are Indian attacks, hazardous river crossings, brutal weather, seemingly insurmountable mountains, and a constant battle with impregnable wilderness. After completing
their epic task, the explorers return to Washington, DC, and to a grateful President Jefferson (Heyes), with Reed at their sides. Though she loves Heston, Reed leaves him, realizing that she could never adapt to the white man's ways, returning to the Far West. Adapted from a novel by Della Gould
Emmons, the film takes great liberties with the real facts and characters of the Lewis and Clark expedition, but provides a great deal of entertainment and visual pleasure as director Rudolph Mate (a former cinematographer) records a stunning panorama of the American West. Overlong, a bit too
wordy, with a Salter score that sometimes deafens, THE FAR HORIZONS nevertheless is worth the trip.
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