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Paint Your Wagon (1969)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 15 October 1969 (USA)
1:06 | Trailer

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Two unlikely prospector partners share the same wife in a California gold rush mining town.



(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Dexter ...
William O'Connell ...
Haywood Holbrook (as Ben Baker)
Paula Trueman ...
Geoffrey Norman ...
Terry Jenkins ...
Joe Mooney


A Michigan farmer and a prospector form a partnership in the California gold country. Their adventures include buying and sharing a wife, hijacking a stage, kidnaping six prostitutes, and turning their mining camp into a boomtown. Along the way there is plenty of drinking, gambling, and singing. They even find time to do some creative gold mining. Written by David J. Kiseleski <davidk269@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stake Your Claim To The Musical Goldmine of '69! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda de la ciudad sin nombre  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the only film produced by Alan Jay Lerner. See more »


During "The Best Things In Life Are Dirty", Ben Rumson rides up on a cart full of sloppy mud. The three Irishmen, led by Mad Jack, are pulling the cart up on a block and tackle, with a heave-ho motion. The cart should rise a few inches at a time, to synch up with their motions. Instead, while they pull and rest, pull and rest, the cart rises out of the pit at a constant speed. See more »


Haywood Holbrook: Dearly beloved. We have gathered together to grant this man, Ben Rumson, exclusive title to this woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Woodling, and to all her mineral resources. I have drawn up this Record of Claim which here and henceforth will be recognized as a certificate of marriage. So I ask you Ben, do you recognize this claim as a contract of marriage and do you take this woman to love honor and cherish?
Pardner: [after long silence] Oh, he does.
Haywood Holbrook: Elizabeth Woodling, do you take this man, Ben Rumson, to love, ...
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Satan, Bite the Dust (2016) See more »


Wand'rin' Star
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Lee Marvin & The Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

"Gotta Dream Boy, Gotta A Song, Paint Your Wagon, And Come Along"
9 January 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Unfortunately Paint Your Wagon came at a time when big budget musicals were going out of vogue. The expenses of this film nearly bankrupted Paramount and it was many years before the studio recouped its investment. Another big Broadway hit from the same era, Finian's Rainbow also came to the big screen a few years earlier and bombed at the box office.

Paint Your Wagon ran 289 performances for the 1951-1952 season on Broadway. Daring in its time, Paint Your Wagon had an interracial love theme. That was too tame for the newly liberated silver screen from the Code and here we have a woman, Jean Seberg, marrying two gold miners, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. This might be the first story on screen about polyandry unless you count Noel Coward's Design for Living and that was a heavily censored version.

Listening to Lee Marvin it sounds like an eminently practical arrangement. Lee saves Clint Eastwood after a fall and nurses him back to health and he makes him a partner. Then he 'buys' at auction Jean Seberg who is the second wife of passing Mormon John Mitchum.

Since Clint's a partner in everything, sharing a wife seems a sensible arrangement. Lee's character Ben Rumson has some very interesting ideas on morality, especially morality out in the wilds. You'll have to see Paint Your Wagon to hear him explain his views.

Jean Seberg's voice is dubbed by Anita Gordon, but Eastwood and Marvin do their own numbers. For Marvin, he does it in the tradition of Rex Harrison and Richard Burton in those other Lerner and Loewe musicals and it comes off nicely. Clint Eastwood's many talents do not include singing however.

But as it turned out Paint Your Wagon needed all the help it could get at the box office. They could have cast a singer in Clint's part, but where was there on who could play the role, be the right age, and bring in the dollars. By 1969 there really was no such male singer in Hollywood. Probably in the fifties someone like Gordon MacRae or Howard Keel might have done it then.

The comedy is pretty raucous from Lee Marvin's original ideas on sex to the whole town caving in because of all the mine tunnels beneath. Paint Your Wagon holds up well and it's not as bad a film as has come down by reputation. It might be painful for Clint Eastwood fans to hear him sing though.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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