7.6/10
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48 user 28 critic

Westward the Women (1951)

A trail guide escorts a group of women from Chicago to California to marry men that have recently begun settling there.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Charles Schnee (screenplay), Frank Capra (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Buck Wyatt
Denise Darcel ... Fifi Danon
Hope Emerson ... Patience Hawley
John McIntire ... Roy E. Whitman
Julie Bishop ... Laurie Smith
Lenore Lonergan ... Maggie O'Malley
Henry Nakamura ... Ito Kentaro
Marilyn Erskine ... Jean Johnson
Beverly Dennis Beverly Dennis ... Rose Meyers
Renata Vanni ... Mrs. Moroni
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Storyline

In a time when "The West" pretty much ends in Texas and only California is slowly being populated by the white men, there's a severe lack of women among the workers on Roy Whitman's farm in the California Valley. So he goes back east to Chicago to recruit 150 women willing to become wives for his employees. From the candidates he selects 138 who seem able to survive a months long journey across "The Great American Desert" and the Rocky Mountains. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The BIG M-G-M Spectacle!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to his autobiography, Frank Capra had planned to direct the film himself and cast Gary Cooper in the lead, but later sold his story to his neighbor, director William A. Wellman. See more »

Goofs

In the movie, which was supposed to be set in 1851, Buck is using, what appears to be, a Colt 45 Peacemaker. Only problem is, this type of revolver was not invented until the 1870's. See more »

Quotes

Buck Wyatt: There's two things in this world that scare me, and a good woman is both.
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Crazy Credits

The MGM lion, instead of roaring, is frozen in place. See more »

Alternate Versions

Avalable in a colorized version on home video from Turner/MGM Home Video. Like many colorized versions of films, it was not authorized nor approved by anyone who worked on the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Paul Aguirre (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

To The West! To The West!
By Henry Russell
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User Reviews

Blood ,sweat and tears.
4 March 2004 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

This is a William Wellmann's tour de force!In spite of the conventional macho Taylor,everything rings true ,this film has a smell of authenticity¨.Performances are so good (all the actors and mainly actresses) and nobody overacts .Sometimes it looks like a Russian movie,where the masses are the main hero.The fact that outside of English,THREE other languages are used (Italian,French and Japanese) shows Wellmann's respect for his audience.It's something to hear Denise Darcel sing "auprès de ma blonde " -a song from the seventeenth century- in the middle of the desert !

Some sequences are absolutely admirable ,I will mention three of them:

-the "recruitment" , the two women who hit the bull's-eyes (here a sheriff's eyes on a poster),the Italian family who registers without knowing what terrible fate lies in store for them (if they made a remake,I wonder what the politically correct world of 2004 would make of the little boy)

-After the attack,the women ,like in an army tell all the names of the dead.An echo adds to the poignancy of the situation.

-And last but not least,the survivors,who are still women,show their coquetterie and demand new clothes to meet their men.

Actually,it's the whole film which is in turn tragic,funny ,poetic,and wonderful.The gauche attitude of the men when they meet their future wives is a delight.

SPOILER:The key to the film is the birth of a child ,under the blistering sun of the desert;after the awful death of the little Italian boy,it gives hope back to the women and (to the audience).It' s the promise for them all that new children will soon be born and carry on their mammoth task.

A Russian western describes this remarkable work.

NB:Although French,Denise Darcel never made a movie in her native country.


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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

31 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pioneer Women See more »

Filming Locations:

Death Valley, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,203,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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