An extraordinarily predictable and uninviting western directed by McLaglen in the John Ford vein but with none of the Ford atmosphere, complexity, characterization, or inventiveness. Only in its visualization of the western expanse and picturesque rendering of Oregon Trail country does
the film come close to its goal. The story--based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (though you'd never know it)--describes a wagon train of pioneers from Missouri to Oregon. Douglas, a widowed senator, leads the pack with Mitchum, a trail scout with poor eyesight, second in command. The main
conflict centers on the escapades of newlywed husband Witney, who ignores his frigid wife an...