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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
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Popularity
1,631 ( 613)

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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:

A FABULOUS ROMANTIC ADVENTURE 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:

Das war der wilde Westen 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

This features three of Hollywood's greatest Western stars, John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda, appearing together for the first and only time. Peter Bogdanovich was desperate for them to appear in his proposed version of Larry McMurtry's "The Streets of Laredo" in 1973. It fell apart when Wayne turned it down. Bogdanovich said that Wayne claimed it was "too depressing, and then he decides to make The Shootist (1976) about an ageing gunfighter dying of cancer!" See more »

Goofs

During a gun battle on the railroad train, a man is ejected from the train and knocks over a Saguaro cactus. Saguaros have a very strong framework and would not be knocked over so easily. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Tyrus (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Wayfarin' Stranger
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Dave Guard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
HTWWW at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles
19 September 2003 | by mrowSee all my reviews

It was a good payoff; the print was as perfect as could be expected and the Pacific Cinerama theater is in top form. Seating was fine (it's reserved, so you know ahead where you'll be. Because you're looking at three separate 35mm projections, the sum total of the three result in a very large, clear and bright picture, just as good as a 70mm film, and perhaps better in some respects. The prints were vivid and sharp.

At the Dome, a theater executive came out to discuss the film and the theater history with the audience just prior to the start of the picture; he spoke for 10-15 minutes discussing the pros and cons of the process, why it wasn't practical to continue making films this way etc. One of the plus aspects is that with the small lenses they used, the focus was fixed and any object from 2 ft to infinity was always in focus (therefore, all the scenery was sharp except for certain single-camera and process shots). One of the downside aspects is that extreme closeups are not possible in Cinerama, and he said that the directors hated that. Then he tells inside trivia about the film, how it includes about a minute of footage from two other films (one was The Alamo) because the scenes fit perfectly in the storyline. He also mentioned that back in the 1960's it took 5 people to run the show: three projectors, the 35mm sound projector and one master projectionist - total of 5. The gentleman said that today, with all the modern technological improvements, they were now able to produce the identical result -- with just 5 projectionists! In other words, nothing had changed. Another reason the process could not survive. Got a big laugh. He then introduced each projectionist to the audience.

Anyway, the whole thing came off without a hitch and I had forgotten much of the film's vivid details and incredible scenery, so it was very much like seeing it for the first time. I had not seen it in Cinerama ever, and when I did see a blended 35mm print in a local Edwards theater back in '64, it was somewhat of a disappointment. The magnetic 6-track sound was on still another 35mm film strip, so 4 separate strips are actually required to comprise the presentation). The sound was fine - clear and sharp - with lots of separation in the six channels, but it was not as boomy as the sound we hear in today's pics. For anyone interested in what it might have been like to see a state-of-the-art presentation in the early 1960's, this presents a magnificent opportunity, and the film is a trip. --- DFR


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