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How the West Was Won (1962)

A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century - including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

Writer:

James R. Webb
Reviews
Popularity
3,510 ( 459)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carroll Baker ... Eve Prescott
Lee J. Cobb ... Marshal Lou Ramsey
Henry Fonda ... Jethro Stuart
Carolyn Jones ... Julie Rawlings
Karl Malden ... Zebulon Prescott
Gregory Peck ... Cleve Van Valen
George Peppard ... Zeb Rawlings
Robert Preston ... Roger Morgan
Debbie Reynolds ... Lilith Prescott
James Stewart ... Linus Rawlings
Eli Wallach ... Charlie Gant
John Wayne ... Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Richard Widmark ... Mike King
Brigid Bazlen ... Dora Hawkins
Walter Brennan ... Col. Jeb Hawkins
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Storyline

Setting off on a journey to the west in the 1830s, the Prescott family run into a man named Linus, who helps them fight off a pack of thieves. Linus then marries daughter Eve Prescott (Carroll Baker), and 30 years later goes off to fight in the Civil War with their son, with bloody results. Eve's sister, Lily, heads farther west and has adventures with a professional gambler, stretching all the way to San Francisco and into the 1880s. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's here! The mightiest adventure ever filmed! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arapaho

Release Date:

20 February 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

How the West Was Won See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$46,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$50,000,000, 31 December 1969
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| Cinerama 7-Track (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.89 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the two dividing lines that separate the three separate projections could not be totally edited into a seamless match, the directors skillfully used camouflage techniques to disguise the lines. Some of the objects used for this were trees, lamp posts, window edges, porch rails, building corners, doorways and wooden crates which were positioned at these points. See more »

Goofs

Linus Rawlings ('Jimmy Stewart') is depicted as having gray hair. The body of the man they identify as Linus Rawlings to the Civil War surgeon has red hair. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [as the camera pans over the Rocky Mountains] This land has a name today, and is marked on maps. But, the names and the marks and the maps all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Except for historical events and characters, the events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 164 minute film has been digitally restored for Blu-ray DVD, with both a stitched wide-screen version and a "Smilebox" version that simulates the Cinerama wrap around. The restoration gives a unified single image, and completely removes the vertical lines that separate the three camera images, as well as the small jitter that was evident at the intersection of the three original film images. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Red Skelton Hour: How the West Was Lost (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

How the West Was Won
(1962)
Music by Alfred Newman
Lyrics by Ken Darby
Performed by Ken Darby (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A whole constellation of magnificent spectacle!
21 October 2000 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Ford's most distinctive work has dealt with the white American's conquest of the wilderness... He has made films about most of the significant episodes in American history—early colonization of the West, the Civil War, the extermination of the Indians—and in so doing he has recounted the American saga in human terms and made it come alive...

Ford directed one of the episodes of "How the West Was Won," the Civil War... His brief but redeeming contribution effectively recounted the bloody Battle of Shiloh and its aftermath...

Hathaway's strong points were atmosphere, character and authentic locations... He directed, in the film, the episodes of 'The Rivers,' 'The Plains,' and 'The Outlaws.'

George Marshal—the most prolific and most versatile of all major Hollywood filmmakers—directed the episode of 'The Railroad.'

As seen through the eyes of four generations of a pioneer family of New England farmers as they made their way west in the l840s, the scope of "How the West Was Won" is enormous, with essays on the physiology of the West (pioneers, settlers, Indians, outlaws, and adventurers).

The film describes the hard life and times of the Prescott's family across the continent and their fortune to the western shore after years of hardship, loss, love, war, danger and romance...

Stewart appears in the first half hour as a trapper named Linus Rawlings, who marries the daughter (Carroll Baker) of a family migrating West…

The story touched all the bases: runaway wagon trains; Indians stampeding Buffalos; confused and erratic river rapids; the grandeur of Monument Valley, Utah; the rocky mountains; the Black Hills of South Dakota; the clamor of gold in St.Louis; the Cheyenne attack; the Pony Express; the overland telegraph; the coming of the steel roadway of the iron horse; the bloody battle between cattlemen and homesteaders; and some thrilling hand-to-hand fighting…

The result is a stupendous epic Western with 8 Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture and three Academy Awards including Best Original Story and Screenplay; Best Soundand Best Film Editing...

Narrated by Spencer Tracy, "How the West Was Won" enlists the services of such top stars as: Carroll Baker, the strong-minded woman; Gregory Peck, the luckiest gambler; Debbie Reynolds, the perplexing talented singer and dancer; Henry Fonda, the buffalo hunter with gray flowing hair and mustaches; George Peppard, the man with a star; Robert Preston, the decent character with moral flaws; Thelma Ritter, the character woman; Karl Malden, the patriarch; Agnes Moorehead, the unfortunate wife and mother; John Wayne, the major architect of modern warfare; Richard Widmark, the 'king' of the railroad; Russ Tamblyn the Confederate deserter; Andy Levine, the Corporal Ohio volunteer; Lee J. Cobb, the lawman; Carolyn Jones, the worried wife; Eli Wallach, the dangerous outlaw; Rodolfo Acosta, the train robber; Raymond Massey, the great Abraham Lincoln; Walter Brennan and Lee Van Cleef, the thieves to fear…

Alfred Newman and Ken Darby's majestic music takes the pioneers through every conceivable encounter in the West, achieving with conviction a whole constellation of magnificent spectacle...


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