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How the West Was Won (1962)

 -  Western  -  20 February 1963 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 12,292 users  
Reviews: 137 user | 31 critic

A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century--including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

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Title: How the West Was Won (1962)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Sprawling epic which follows the Prescotts, an emigrant family through four generations, from the Erie Canal in the 1830's to their settled home in the West a half a century later. On the way they encounter river pirates, and escape with the help of fur trapper Linus Rawlings, who subsequently marries one of their daughters, Eve. The parents are drowned on a foundering raft, and the other daughter Lilith becomes a riverboat singer and catches the eye of a genteel adventurer Cleve Van Valen. They cross the plains together in a wagon train and make and lose a fortune in California; meanwhile Linus has turned farmer and, comes the Civil War, joins the Union Army and is killed at the Battle of Shiloh. One of his sons Zeb also joins the army and stays after the war as a cavalry officer and is sent to Colorado to help guard the pioneering railroad against the Indians, whose land they are crossing. By this time Lilith is the elderly lady of the family, having survived long enough to see the ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A FABULOUS ROMANTIC ADVENTURE See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La conquista del Oeste  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$12,150,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.89 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spencer Tracy was only able to narrate the film rather than play a part due to his health problems. See more »

Goofs

When Zeb rides up to the Arapaho and they fire at him, he races back to the train camp, gets off his horse and hits it on the rump. It races off, but after the buffalo go through the camp and Zeb is ready to leave, his horse is neatly tied to the fence. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [as the camera pans over the Rocky Mountains] This land has a name today, and is marked on maps. But, the names and the marks and the maps all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Relative Strangers (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

What Was Your Name in the States?
(1962)
Music by Robert Emmett Dolan (uncredited)
Lyrics adapted by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Debbie Reynolds (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Grand Epic
20 August 1999 | by (Morristown, NJ) – See all my reviews

I'm not a fan of westerns in particular, but this magnificent epic is an exception for me because it has all the wonderful elements of a sprawling historical epic that only Hollywood could do so wonderfully in the 50s and 60s. And yes, I embrace it for holding to a perspective that today's PC revisionists who see evil in everything associated with the rise of America as a great nation are always so quick to condemn. While this is by no means a flawless look at history, it is only those who dare to liken the American pioneers with "Nazis" as one reviewer did who end up "creating history" more than a film like this does.


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