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In a time when "The West" pretty much ends in Texas and only California is slowly being populated by the white men, there's a severe lack of women among the workers on Roy Whitman's farm in the California Valley. So he goes back east to Chicago to recruit 150 women willing to become wives for his employees. From the candidates he selects 138 who seem able to survive a months long journey across "The Great American Desert" and the Rocky Mountains. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
A brilliant slice of pioneer-era Americana. In no other movie that comes to mind was there such a realistic portrayal of the Old West and its numerous perils than in this faithfully told story of pioneer women crossing the harsh western U.S. wilderness of 1850 from Missouri to California.
The ladies are responding to an ad placed by a leader (on behalf of several other men) in a pioneer settlement out in California for wives. These tenderfoot ladies may be looking for husbands, but there's nothing "weak" about them at all. They not only bravely face the hardships, dangers, and tragedies of the journey, but they soon learn how to handle their own with toughness and grit.
The story unfolds clearly due to a finely structured and developed script. The intertwining stories are well told and well acted. The mostly female cast are all strong, and Robert Taylor as "Buck," the guide and leader of the wagon train seems to enjoy the task of having dozens of female leads surrounding him. John McIntyre as the patriarchal Mr. Whitman (who hires Buck) is good, while Buck's friend, confidant, and comic-relief guy Ito is also a well-rounded character.
The ending is one of the most heartwarming ever in a western; this is the kind of movie that can be watched over and over again.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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