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.



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

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sen. William J. Tadlock
Dick Summers
Lije Evans
Rebecca 'Becky' Evans
Mercy McBee
Katherine Justice ...
Amanda Mack
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)
John Mitchum ...
Little Henry


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


Cracking Like a Whip From Here to Excitement!


Adventure | Western


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Release Date:

24 May 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harold Hecht's The Way West  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


A large tree that is felled during the raft building clearly has a large wedge cleanly cut out of it as from a chain saw. Even if a large two-man hand saw were being used, it is not shown, as every tree being cut that is shown, is being chopped down with an axe. See more »


[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 »


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


The Way West
Music by Bronislau Kaper (uncredited)
Lyrics by Mack David
Sung by The Serendipity Singers (as Serendipity Singers)
See more »

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User Reviews

Wagon train western you can practically follow with a check-list...
6 May 2009 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

In 1843 Missouri, hot-headed senator Kirk Douglas leads a large group of chosen people across rugged terrain to start "a new Jerusalem" in Oregon; he picks a half-blind pioneer scout (mourning the death of his Indian wife!) to help lead them, but immediately clashes with a family man over incidental matters; meanwhile, a sex-starved teenage girl has a fling with a married man, resulting in personal tragedy and an Indian attack (don't ask). A small pox outbreak is falsely reported, there's a wedding, a frigid woman goes insane, and the trail comes to an end at the Grand Canyon. A.B. Guthrie, Jr.'s book becomes somewhat besotted western epic with star-names, mixing vulgar jokes and inanities with ripe old clichés. A voice-over narration and a patriotic song come clean out of nowhere, while snarling Douglas blames himself for a death and asks a servant to whip him. It's cheap and low-brow all the way, but most viewers in the mood for a picture such as this probably won't be disappointed. There are some solid elements worth mentioning: William H. Clothier's outdoor cinematography is fine in the old-fashioned sense; and, although Bronislau Kaper whips up a dusty frenzy with his ridiculous score, the pacing is jaunty throughout and the wagons roll along at a fast clip. Douglas and Richard Widmark manage to retain their movie star allure, though Robert Mitchum was looking haggard by this time (and his performance is intentionally forgettable--he cancels out all his interest in the proceedings with one heavy sigh). Sally Field makes an inauspicious movie debut which I'm fairly certain she'd rather forget, but Lola Albright has a pleasing smile and Michael Witney does well as the handsome married man who can't get his wife to submit...but why does he shoot blindly into a rustling bush at night when it could have been his wife spying on him? Perhaps he was hoping it was! **1/2 from ****

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