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The Way West (1967)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 24 May 1967 (USA)
In 1843, a former U.S. senator leads a wagon train of settlers to Oregon, but his megalomania leads to growing dissatisfaction with his leadership.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Mitchell Lindemann) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Senator William J. Tadlock
...
Dick Summers
...
Lije Evans
...
Rebecca 'Becky' Evans
...
Mercy McBee
...
Amanda Mack
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Preacher Weatherby
Stubby Kaye ...
Sam Fairman
...
Brownie Evans
...
Mr. McBee (as Harry Carey)
...
Mrs. McBee
Michael Witney ...
Johnnie Mack
...
Michael Moynihan
Elisabeth Fraser ...
Mrs. Fairman (as Elizabeth Fraser)
...
Little Henry
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Storyline

In the mid-19th century, Senator William J. Tadlock leads a group of settlers overland in a quest to start a new settlement in the Western US. Tadlock is a highly principled and demanding taskmaster who is as hard on himself as he is on those who have joined his wagon train. He clashes with one of the new settlers, Lije Evans, who doesn't quite appreciate Tadlock's ways. Along the way, the families must face death and heartbreak and a sampling of frontier justice when one of them accidentally kills a young Indian boy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cracking Like a Whip From Here to Excitement!

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harold Hecht's The Way West  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1956 Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions announced plans to film "The Way West." It was to be adapted by Clifford Odets and was to star Burt Lancaster, James Stewart and, hopefully, Gary Cooper. That version was not made. See more »

Goofs

When the party reaches the river, and the obviously parched humans fall into the water to take a drink of it, the livestock and horses seem to be curiously disinterested in doing so. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Mercy flirts silently with Brownie]
Lije Evans: Best not be lookin', Brownie.
Brownie Evans: I ain't lookin'... as hard as I can.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introducing Sally Field as "Mercy" and introducing Katherine Justice. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Callan: Nice People Die at Home (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Mercy MC Bee
Composed by Bronislau Kaper
Performed by The Serendipity Singers
Conducted by André Previn
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User Reviews

Epic western spoilt by trying to cram too much into its running time
8 January 2003 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

The Way West is an epic western, but unlike another epic western How the West Was Won, it isn't a very good film. The main problem here is that the script writers and the director have got carried away, and have tried to cram far too many events and subplots into the two hour running time.

The main plot thread follows an ambitious and cruel visionary named William Tadlock (Kirk Douglas), who dreams of taking hundreds of people into the vast, unexplored wilderness of the Wild West and starting up a new town. His ambition is an obsession. It drives him and dictates his every move. Even his own family come second in his list of priorities. During the journey, his behaviour towards the other pioneers becomes increasingly irrational and unsympathetic, and in the end he loses the respect of his fellow travellers.

There are some good moments in the film. The climax is really surprising, with a twist that few viewers will predict. Sally Field has some interesting scenes as a young girl who undergoes a sexual awakening during the trip. There's also a well done scene in which a man who has killed an Indian child by accident is hanged. However, the abundance of plot threads, characters and subplots is a big drawback. The makers should have concentrated on a few elements and done them really thoroughly, instead of cramming in so much and only dealing with the themes in a shallow and all-too-brief fashion. This is not bad, I suppose, but it could have been oh so much better.


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