WESTWARD THE WOMEN

Director William Wellman
Year 1951
Starring Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson, Julie Bishop
Run Time 118min
More Info IMDb

Part of the series SHE DIED WITH HER BOOTS ON: WOMEN AND THE WEST

"One of the few films to present positive, overt sisterhood… Dramatic images of individual women against an open and stark landscape are rare in American films, and they are memorable." – Jeanine Basinger

Rugged pioneers. Indian fighters. Brave trailblazers. These are the WOMEN who tamed the wild west. Totally incredible, breathtaking, horrifying, and rousing, this wagon train saga details a 2,000 mile journey as a woman-hating scout guides a group of mail-order brides across the frontier to California. This movie is an astonishing study in power and gender, as the women are made to essentially become men in order survive the many perils of the westward trail. From natural disaster, to violent attacks, to personal and emotional drama, the women of the wagon train face and conquer every peril and hardship imaginable. The thrilling, if not un-problematic story makes room for images of true strength, resourcefulness, courage and independence. The push-and-pull between genuine empowerment and old-fashioned attitudes makes this a fascinating film to discuss and explore. In exploring what it means to be a "strong woman", the film creates a huge number of unforgettable characters and blazens the screen with commanding imagery that still has the power surprise, illuminate and inspire. 

WESTWARD THE WOMEN is also just a massively entertaining action adventure movie of wilderness survival, rivaling the best Westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks. Totally essential and not to be missed.

William Wellman directs from a screen story by Frank Capra. 

Screening in 35mm

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