The Way West

MGM Released 1967


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Movie Summary

Andrew V. McLaglen
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The Way West is a 1967 Western film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, written by A. B. Guthrie Jr. in 1950. The film stars Kirk Douglas, Richard Widmark, Robert Mitchum and Sally Field, and features an original musical score by Bronislau Kaper. Set in the middle of the nineteenth century, the film depicts the long and difficult wagon train journey of United States Senator William Tadlock (Douglas) on the Oregon Trail, accompanied by his son and slave and guided by Dick Summers (Mitchum). He is joined on the journey by farmer Lije Evans (Widmark) and his family along with two other families and the newlywed Mack couple (Mike Witney, Katherine Justice). Relationships between the travellers become strained, and after Johnnie Mack commits a deadly transgression, Senator Tadlock becomes increasingly fearful of recrimination, and his travelling companions begin to resent his paranoid behaviour.

Metacritic Score

  • 63

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    If The Way West does not wholly succeed as drama, it is at least a well-made and wholly professional Hollywood Western. Western fans, myself included, might enjoy it for that alone...

  • 40

    Time Out

    The cast - Douglas as a frantically visionary senator, Mitchum as the veteran trail scout, Widmark as the leader of the settlers - is fine, and William Clothier's location photogra...

  • 30

    The New York Times Bosley Crowther

    What they have to go through to reach Oregon is nothing to compare to what an old Western fan has to go through to keep from getting up in the middle and walking out.

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Military & War