Oregon, 1856: pioneering days. Andrews is the ambitious, self-reliant hero around whom move the weak friend (Donlevy), the sworn enemy (Bond), the more or less right woman (Hayward), and the more or less wrong one (Roc, on leave from J Arthur Rank). The film's unevenness and its fitful progress are characteristic of Tourneur. Hayward looks neglected, Donlevy seems disinclined, Carmichael's songs are pleasant but disruptive, and, at a guess, the writer tried to pack in far too much of a discursive novel (by Ernest Haycox). Against all that is the director's talent for the eloquent vignette, the way his characters from time to time convey an unexpected delicacy of feeling and the sense, coherently organised and expressed in the movie, of life as an affair of the temporary and the uncertain. In other words, less for Western buffs than for auteurists and those with a taste for curate's eggs.
Cast and crew
Dana Andrews Brian Donlevy Susan Hayward Patricia Roc Hoagy Carmichael Ward Bond Andy Devine Lloyd Bridges