In the 1830's beaver trapper Flint Mitchell and other white men hunt and trap in the then unnamed territories of Montana and Idaho. Flint marries a Blackfoot woman as a way to gain entrance into her people's rich lands, but finds she means more to him than a ticket to good beaver habitat. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
When the horse with Gable's son runs away. the child is originally on the right side of the horse. The succeeding shot shows him on the left side of the horse. Later shots show him back on the right side. The anomalous shot is shown again later with the baby now on the correct (right) side, indicating that the film had been flipped. See more »
My father told me that for the first time, he saw these Indians as he had never seen them before - as people with homes and traditions and ways of their own. Suddenly they were no longer savages. They were people who laughed and loved and dreamed.
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This Western film directed without any particular distinction by William Wellman is visually stunning and has moments that are exciting, touching and even thrilling. It is also an uneven movie with a patchy script which relies heavily on a voice-over narrator. The film is pretty thin on a strong story line. "Across the Wide Missouri" mainly consists of a string of episodes that suggests there was more of a screenplay here not captured in the film. Why? One only wonders.
Clark Gable continued his pattern of pairing up with much younger leading ladies. When this film was made, he was 50 and Maria Elena Marques was 25. Interestingly, in the similar "Broken Arrow" made one year earlier, James Stewart (playing a scout rather than a fur trapper like Gable) was 42 to Debra Paget's 17----an identical difference of 25 years! To continue the comparison, both women portrayed Indian maidens although one is American Caucasian (Paget) and the other is Mexican (Marques). Both married their leading man in the films and died as the price for doing so.
"Across the Wide Missouri" and "Broken Arrow" have other similarities. Both films present sympathetic views of Native Americans, and their ability to intermingle freely with white outdoorsmen in the spirit of mutual respect if not friendship. They also reveal that the treachery in these relationships often came from the whites and not the Indians. While "Broken Arrow" is better written, "Across the Wide Missouri" may contain better performances by the two leading actors.
One final interesting point to consider. Jack Holt (in his last film) played Marques's aged grandfather, Bear Ghost. At the time, he was 63, or just 13 years older than Gable. Yet Gable is playing Holt's grandson by marriage! Talk about make believe! In the blockbuster film, "San Francisco" made by M-G-M in 1936, Holt and Gable played romantic rivals seeking the affection of lovely Jeannette MacDonald. At that point, Gable was 35 and Holt 48. From romantic rivals to grandfather and grandson in just 15 years!
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