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Westward the Women (1951)

Not Rated | | Western, Drama | 31 December 1951 (USA)
A trail guide escorts a group of women from Chicago to California to marry men that have recently began settling there.



(screenplay), (story)


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Complete credited cast:
Lenore Lonergan ...
Beverly Dennis ...
Renata Vanni ...
Mrs. Moroni


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The BIG M-G-M Spectacle!


Western | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

31 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pioneer Women  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,203,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,640,000, 31 December 1951

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,996,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Finnish censorship visa register # 36817 delivered on 23-9-1952. See more »


During a shooting lesson one of the men tells one of the women to "aim low that will make up for the recoil". When shooting a gun the bullet has long left the barrel, before the barrel begins to move in recoil. Aim low and you'll miss low. See more »


Fifi Danon: [to Buck Wyatt] Do you ever... shave?
[he walks away from her]
Fifi Danon: You always look so dirty!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The MGM lion, instead of roaring, is frozen in place. See more »


Referenced in Challenge the Wilderness (1951) See more »


To The West! To The West!
By Henry Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

Blood ,sweat and tears.
4 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is a William Wellmann's tour de force!In spite of the conventional macho Taylor,everything rings true ,this film has a smell of authenticity¨.Performances are so good (all the actors and mainly actresses) and nobody overacts .Sometimes it looks like a Russian movie,where the masses are the main hero.The fact that outside of English,THREE other languages are used (Italian,French and Japanese) shows Wellmann's respect for his audience.It's something to hear Denise Darcel sing "auprès de ma blonde " -a song from the seventeenth century- in the middle of the desert !

Some sequences are absolutely admirable ,I will mention three of them:

-the "recruitment" , the two women who hit the bull's-eyes (here a sheriff's eyes on a poster),the Italian family who registers without knowing what terrible fate lies in store for them (if they made a remake,I wonder what the politically correct world of 2004 would make of the little boy)

-After the attack,the women ,like in an army tell all the names of the dead.An echo adds to the poignancy of the situation.

-And last but not least,the survivors,who are still women,show their coquetterie and demand new clothes to meet their men.

Actually,it's the whole film which is in turn tragic,funny ,poetic,and wonderful.The gauche attitude of the men when they meet their future wives is a delight.

SPOILER:The key to the film is the birth of a child ,under the blistering sun of the desert;after the awful death of the little Italian boy,it gives hope back to the women and (to the audience).It' s the promise for them all that new children will soon be born and carry on their mammoth task.

A Russian western describes this remarkable work.

NB:Although French,Denise Darcel never made a movie in her native country.

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