Westward The Women or Man Seeks SWF For Wife
Written: Jul 20, 2000 (Updated Mar 13, 2001)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Realistic Scenery, Believable Plot, Entertaining
Cons:Did not last long enough for me.
The Bottom Line: If you haven't watched this movie yet, do so now. You will cringe, laugh, cry, and cheer as these women take on the west.
This movie should have had the title how the west was won. After all, where would the west be if not for the pioneer women that went before us? One reason this movie was so important in my humble opinion, it showed a side of women that wasn't the norm.
Women, even in the west were shown as prim and proper except for the saloon gals that were there for the entertainment of the men. It was a mans world plain and simple.
Before WWII women were not considered smart enough or strong enough to be anything other then home makers. When the war started and all of our brave men went to fight, women had to take over the jobs and tasks that had always fallen to men. When the war was over it was back to the old ways. Women stayed home had the babies took care of the house and were generally protected. I wonder if a movie like this would have been made before the war.
When this movie came out in 1951 it showed a side to women that most men did not know and would not believe existed, hard determination to endure and wear the pants so the speak.
The basic plot was simple take a wagon train full of women across the west to a valley in California where there was a town of men waiting for them. Sounds simple doesn't it? The plot thickens as the women endure hardships that are usually only for men.
The Women were the most important part of this film.
Fifi Danon (Denise Darcel) a former saloon girl who is trying to make a new life, she is Bucks love interest in the film, although grudgingly on his part.
Patience Holly (Hope Emerson) plays the typical pioneer woman big and strong and outspoken.
Laurie (Julie Bishop) the other saloon girl who is killed in a wagon that is washed away.
There are many more women. One I particularly enjoyed was Mrs. Maroni (Renata Vanni) who came on the wagon train with her son and their dog.
These were not the typical glamorous women that usually starred in films in this period. The women were true to life, some wore glasses, some were fat, some were small there were all kinds. This is what made the film so believable. The women that starred in the movie did all the physical work themselves.
The females fight, get frustrated, cry, rally, every emotion that is known to man but they also have a dream of a husband and family in a new land. The women go through hardships such as childbirth, Indian attacks, bad weather, washed out gullies, places where it is almost impossible to get a wagon down, some of them die, but they continue on.
Buck (Robert Taylor) who is the hardened trail boss charged with getting the women through.
Roy Whitman (John McIntire) who had a dream of his valley becoming a town with homes and churches and organized the wagon train and hired Buck.
One of the funniest parts was played by (Henry Nakamura) who played Ito the cook.
When they finally reach their destination they refuse to let the men come near and send Buck after what ever he can find so the women can fix themselves up to meet their future husbands. The only unrealistic part of the movie was when these women manage to make themselves beautiful and clean and dressed in no time out of scarves, tablecloths, and what have you, that the men manage to find in their humble abodes.
The ending is one of my favorite parts; I cheer as each woman picks her man not the other way around.
The story was filmed on location in the Mohave Desert, which made it more realistic. There was sweat, dirt and shiny noses in this film. These women wore the standard dress for pioneer women, only a couple wore pants and a gunbelt.
Frank Capra wrote the story along with screenwriter Charles Schnee.
William Wellman directed this movie, one of Wellman’s other ventures was Blood Alley of John Wayne fame.
Dory Schary produced the film he also produced The Farmers Daughter in the 1940s.
Watching this movie made me proud of all the women that helped tame this land. It had everything, comedy, drama, love; it showed women in a true light with the spirit and stamina that helped settle this land. I still get goosebumps watching this movie.
It was released in 1951 in black and white; there is a colorized version now. I have watched both versions and I like the colored film best.
Running time for this movie 118 minutes.
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