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Franklin J. Schaffner
United States has just acquired Louisiana from France. An expedition led by Lewis and Clark is sent to survey the territory and go where no white man has gone before. Are they able to overcome the dangers with the help of Sacajawea? Written by
Timo Lamminjoki <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The romance between Clark and Sacajawea, and the Indian warrior's jealousy of Clark are fiction. Sacajawea was married to a French-Canadian fur trapper when she met Clark, and there no historical basis to suggest that her and Clark's relationship was anything other than professional. Needless to say, she did not accompany Clark back to Washington, as shown in the film. See more »
The Far Horizons marked Fred MacMurray's return to the Paramount lot where he started his career to co-star with up and coming Charlton Heston in a story of the Lewis&Clark expedition. A landmark event in American history, the story itself strangely has been ignored by Hollywood except for this version. And it doesn't do the journey justice.
But we have to remember that the film is based on a fictional historical novel Sacajawea of the Shoshonis. So the romance between Donna Reed as Sacajawea and Heston as Clark just never happened. In real life she was the wife of Charbonneau the French trapper played by Alan Reed who did not behave as despicably as portrayed here.
Merieweather Lewis was in fact Thomas Jefferson's secretary and Jefferson sending him west to head the expedition was no less than having Tom's eyes and ears right there on the trail. Lewis was a most intense fellow and he would be a suicide in 1809, Clark outlived him by many years. But one thing he did not have was any romantic rivalry with William Clark over the character that Barbara Hale plays, a Virginia planter's daughter and neighbor of Jefferson at Monticello.
As this film would have it, Lewis was mad because Clark had two girls and he had none. The two faced a lot of problems on the trip, but jealousy over romance wasn't one of them.
The film was produced by William Pine and William Thomas who co-produced a whole bunch of B films for Paramount. Bill Pine learned his trade being an associate producer with Cecil B. DeMille. The film was shot on location and bears no small resemblance to some DeMille productions and even more so to King Vidor's classic Northwest Passage.
Still though I wish we just had a straight account of the trip without the phony romance.
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