Taking the favorable factual aspects of the trek of Mormons to the west, and combining them with well-concocted fictional ingredients, picture emerges as an epic filmization of early American history.
There’s dramatic power in the persecution of the Mormons in their settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois; the conviction and murder of Joseph Smith; and the resultant decision of Brigham Young to lead his flock across the plains to their eventual home on the shores of Salt Lake. Adversity hits the entourage at every turn, but, despite recalcitrants in the ranks, Young commands attention with a most dominating personality which is most vividly depicted.
Through it all runs a minor romance between Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell; and a more important impress of man and wife on the parts of Young (Dean Jagger) and his first and favorite spouse, Mary Ann (Mary Astor). Latter is decidedly sympathetic and carries prominent appeal as standing solidly behind the leader through adversity.
Jagger brings to the character of the Mormon leader a personable humaness and sympathy. Astor turns in one of the finest performances of her career. Power and Darnell are overshadowed by the above twain.