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In 1896, Jeff Webster sees the start of the Klondike gold rush as a golden opportunity to make a fortune in beef...and woe betide anyone standing in his way! He drives a cattle herd from Wyoming to Seattle, by ship to Skagway, and (after a delay caused by larcenous town boss Gannon) through the mountains to Dawson. There, he and his partner Ben Tatum get into the gold business themselves. Two lovely women fall for misanthropic Jeff, but he believes in every-man-for-himself, turning his back on growing lawlessness...until it finally strikes home. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of James Stewart's favorite stories of his film career concerned his horse, Pie, a sorrel stallion whom Stewart called, "One of the best co-stars I ever had." Pie appeared as Stewart's horse in 17 Westerns, and the actor developed a strong personal bond with the horse. Pie was very intelligent, Stewart recalled, and would often "act for the cameras when they were rolling. He was a ham of a horse." When shooting the climax of "The Far Country," the script called for Stewart's horse to walk down a dark street alone, with no rider in the saddle, to fool the bad guys who were waiting to ambush Stewart. Assistant Director John Sherwood asked Stewart if Pie would be able to do the scene. Stewart replied, "I'll talk to him." Just before the cameras rolled, Stewart took Pie aside and whispered to the horse for several minutes, giving him instructions for the scene. When Stewart let the horse go, Pie walked perfectly down the middle of the street, doing the scene in one take. When Pie died in 1970, Stewart arranged to have the horse buried at his California ranch. See more »
The distance between Jeff's hand and his six-shooter on the bar between shots. See more »
Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Mann teamed to do some of the best westerns ever made and this is one of the best.
The real star of the film however is the spectacular Canadian Rockies that serve as a backdrop for the story. Some of the best cinematography ever done in the history of film.
In all five of the westerns that Stewart and Mann did together the supporting roles were perfectly cast. No exception here, right down to parts that might only have a few lines, the characters are firmly etched with those lines.
Stewart is a cynical hard-bitten loner in this film whose only real friend is his sidekick Walter Brennan. It's Brennan's death at the hands of the villains that makes him want to finally free the gold settlement from the bad guys and incidentally redeem himself in the process.
John McIntire is the head villain of the piece and he was an under-appreciated actor with a vast range. He could play delightful old codgers, authority figures and in this case a particularly nasty and crafty villain.
One of the best westerns ever.
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