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How the West Was Won (1962) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (1) | Character error (1) | Continuity (5) | Errors in geography (3) | Factual errors (3) | Plot holes (1) | Revealing mistakes (4)

Anachronisms 

A modern water tower appears in the background of a wide shot of troops during Mexican War narration.

Character error 

(at around 31 mins) The sign for the California wagon train lists Roger Ward as wagonmaster, but the wagonmaster, played by Robert Preston, is actually named Roger Morgan.

Continuity 

During the train robbery sequence at the end of the film, the train consisted of a caboose, two flat cars, and two passenger cars. During the gun fight, the two flatcars and the caboose are separated from the rest of he train. However, the other half of the train consists of only the coal car and the engine. The passenger cars are missing. They reappear later when the train is derailed.
When Ma and Pa Prescott are first buried, their grave sites are alongside a river. When older Eve is visiting her parent's grave, there is no sign of a river anywhere near the farm.
While she is refusing Morgan's proposal, Lilith's shoulder strap is on/off her shoulder between shots.
Linus Rawlings ('Jimmy Stewart') is depicted as having gray hair. The body of the man they identify as Linus Rawlings to the Civil War surgeon has red hair.
When Roger Morgan is testing a new whip, he has it in his left hand and then it magically appears in his right hand.

Errors in geography 

The Prescotts were shown traveling west on the Erie Canal, then floating on a raft through Ohio (where Eve Prescott settled). The Erie Canal led to Buffalo, then via the Great Lakes, bypassing Ohio.
The Sacramento River river boat is shown passing through mountainous terrain, while the Sacramento River estuary is all relentless flatland.
Ma and Pa Prescott are buried on the bank of the river in which they drowned. When Eve visits her parent's grave decades later, there is no sign of a river anywhere near the farm.

Factual errors 

When the buffalo hunters arrive on the Union Pacific, the steam locomotive is a wood burning loco, recognized by its large, funnel-shaped smoke stack which contains a spark arrestor. Such locomotives were used by the Central Pacific, which only had access to wood as a fuel before the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed. In contrast, the Union Pacific used coal, which was easily available to them not the least from from the fields in the Rockies, while it had little access to trees for fuel on the plains and in the mountains. Its coal burning locomotives had long straight smoke stacks without spark arrestors.
When the wagon train on its way to California is attacked by Indians, it is in a mountainous area, yet the Indians are identified as Cheyenne. The Cheyenne tribe was a Great Plains tribe, and would not have been that far west.
The Prescotts are floating downstream on a raft when they "take the wrong fork of a river." But that's impossible since tributaries flow into the main branch of river when headed downstream, not away from it.

Plot holes 

There is no explanation of why Sheriff Ramsey is fine in one scene and wearing a bandage on his forehead in the next, immediately following. (there was a deleted or unfilmed scene where Zeb knocked Ramsey out when the Sheriff tried to stop him from going after the train robbers).

Revealing mistakes 

The scene in which Linus Rawlings (James Stewart) arrives to the Prescott camp it is supposedly at night. However, the illumination and environment shows as if it was daylight.
During a gun battle on the railroad train, a man is ejected from the train and knocks over a Saguaro cactus. Saguaros have a very strong framework and would not be knocked over so easily.
During the final scene of the movie when the camera is looking down at a modern freeway cloverleaf, the helicopter landing struts can be seen on the extreme left and right sides of the screen.
Tire tracks in the scene where the Indians attack the wagon train.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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