John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »
As Mormon settlers head to the promised land at the San Juan river in Utah, they hire horse traders Travis Blue and Sandy as wagon masters. They have to forge a trail across unknown territory and face many hardships along the way. They quickly come across some stranded travelers, a medicine show run by Dr. A. Locksley Hall which includes the attractive Denver. Along the way however, they are also joined by Shiloh Clegg and his murderous clan of robbers and thieves. An encounter with the Navajo leads to an invitation to their camp but after one of the Clegg boys gets a whipping for attacking one of the Navajo women, Uncle Shiloh plans his revenge. It's left to Sandy and Travis to protect the travelers and get them to their destination.Written by
Together with the even more underrated , The Sun Shines Bright, Wagon Master was one of Ford's favorite films. It is a western of exceptional beauty and narrative purity, well acted by members of Ford's 'stock company', including Jane Darwell, Alan Mowbray, Ward Bond,and Harry Carey, Jr.Like almost all of Ford's films,it is a meditation on freedom and community. It is also noteworthy for a much more positive portrayal of Indians than in most of Ford's movies. Ford, for all his faults, remains the supreme poet of American Democracy.
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