“We can’t turn back — we’re blazing a trail that started in England.”
… and for being shot in an experimental wide-screen process known as Grandeur 70. As an impressive recreation of the challenges of westward expansion, it visually rivals The Covered Wagon (1923); but its narrative is too cliched to maintain substantial interest. Power’s identity as The Baddie is not only revealed early on, but entirely foreseeable give his over-the-top performance:
… and Wayne’s romancing of Churchill (who’s offended by his accidental kiss of her early on, and can’t seem to let that go) is similarly predictable.
The best scenes are those showcasing the numerous perils faced by the intrepid settlers; the worst are those featuring “comic relief” El Brendel as a Swede terrorized by his menacing mother-in-law (Louise Carver).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: