Review: ‘Westward the Women’

The femmes who helped settle the west didn't chase the sun via cozy streamliners or luxury planes. Showing just what the hardships of such a crossing were and the valiant spirit of the women who braved them is the purpose of this production.

The femmes who helped settle the west didn’t chase the sun via cozy streamliners or luxury planes. Showing just what the hardships of such a crossing were and the valiant spirit of the women who braved them is the purpose of this production.

The picture [from a story by Frank Capra] depicts them graphically, if redundantly, over a somewhat lengthy 116-minute course. John McIntire’s California settler, conceives the idea of going east to Chicago and picking up a group of women who will be brought west as wives for the mateless men peopling his rich valley. He hires Robert Taylor, a rough, tough trail guide, to lead the women into the sun. The long trek is started from Independence, Mo.

The junket battles Indians, further decimating the original 140, and this elimination continues in encounters with the elements: snow, rain, sand, bitter cold and searing heat, and in hazardous crossing of mountains, rivers and deserts.

Taylor does an excellent job of getting over the rugged facets of his character. Hope Emerson, a giant, salty, New Englander, commands a large share of the better scenes.

Westward the Women

Production

M-G-M. Director William A. Wellman; Producer Dore Schary; Screenplay Charles Schnee; Camera William Mellor; Editor James E. Newcom; Music Jeff Alexander; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1951. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

Robert Taylor Denise Darcel Hope Emerson John McIntire Julie Bishop Lenore Lonergan

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