A big screen effort [based on a story by Hal G. Evarts] and an elegantly directed job by Raoul Walsh. But the recurrence of the same things, interrupted now and then by a ‘big scene’, such as the river or cliff crossing, or El Brendel’s dragged-in comedy with his mother-in-law, or the simple romance and the silly melodrama, commences to weary.
This leaves the historical portion, the Oregon trail, as the single interesting part.
Young John Wayne, wholly inexperienced, shows it, but also suggests he can be built up. He certainly has a great start as the lead role in a $2 million production.
Marguerite Churchill is set much in the same key, with not a great deal to do. Hers is mostly a silent role through being continually in a scrap with her sweetheart (Wayne) and not speaking to him.
The widescreen Grandeur [process] seems to dim the photography; leaves ensemble scenes indistinct, except for figure or form.