Monday, January 2, 2012

“Westward the Women”

In a recent post I mentioned the 1951 William Wellman movie “Westward the Women,” a neglected classic which provides a tremendous, and very emotional, film experience.

What I didn’t mention is that it’s likely the best movie about the trek west, the crossing by wagon train of the American continent. I know of no movie which better depicts how arduous that journey was.

In this day of political correctness the settling of the American continent is at best scorned; at worst presented as a criminal event. Anything but! This vast country sat virtually empty, its few million inhabitants living at a subsistence level. The natives’ short lives were short and brutal. Crossing the frontier was one of the great feats of human history. I drove to California and back, and was amazed by the distances, impressed by how difficult the crossing of the continent by the pioneers truly was. This tremendous movie conveys some of that.

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