Dream West (1986)

TV Mini-Series  |  Biography, Drama, Western
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 69 users  
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John Charles Fremont, the American adventurer, the free-spirited women who impelled him to dare undreamed-of-feats, and the young nation they helped to shape. The story begins in 1839 when ... See full summary »

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1986   Unknown  
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Series cast summary:
 Zindel / ... (2 episodes, 1986)


John Charles Fremont, the American adventurer, the free-spirited women who impelled him to dare undreamed-of-feats, and the young nation they helped to shape. The story begins in 1839 when Fremont is chosen to lead the trek into the Oregon Territory with the help of Kit Carson which gets under way in 1843. Fremont's adventures include expeditions into California, a court-martial, acquisition and loss of great wealth, excursions into politics, involvement in the civil war, and eventual realization of the dream to move America westward. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

13 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das abenteuerliche Leben des John Charles Fremont  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Much Better than Anticipated!
12 July 2015 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I saw this recently on the Warner Archive channel and was very pleasantly surprised -- the mediocre 6.9 rating on IMDb (at the moment) is much too low, in my view. Still, that rating is in line with the lukewarm critical reception that Dream West got when originally shown.

For instance, the New York Times thought that the miniseries overemphasized the love story and took too many liberties with the facts. Also, in that paper's view, Mr. Chamberlain was not quite as convincing as usual - - "even out in the wilds, he seems to have stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad." Still, the Times found the series as a whole a breath of fresh-air in comparison to the Sidney Sheldon/Judith Krantz-style shows that were so popular at the time, and also thought that two of the most significant roles were very well-played (Alice Krige is "especially appealing" as Mrs. Fremont, and Rip Torn is "terrific" as Kit Carson).

Although I can understand the basis for the negative comments made about Dream West on its original airing, I mostly don't agree with them. I think the main problem is that the first half-hour or so is, indeed, a bit too soapy. But in retrospect, the opening "star-crossed lovers" approach grounds the relationship between Fremont and his wife in a way that pays off as they face various obstacles over a long life together.

Also, Dream West is filled with vivid, well-produced outdoor scenes that convincingly suggest the grueling conditions faced by explorers of the American continent in the early to mid 19th century.

And last -- I thought Chamberlain was excellent and that he and Krige played well off each other. If the subject matter sounds like it might appeal to you, I'd strongly recommend this miniseries.

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