Thursday, Nov 2020
Director: Anthony Mann
Screenwriters: Borden Chase
Length: 97 mins.
Theme Song: Henry Mancini
Released: 1955

the far country posterHere, Stewart plays a cattle-driving cowboy, who drives a herd with Walter Brennan from Wyoming to Seattle, where he then plans to take them partly by boat to the Beef-Hungry Yukon!!! The movie is unusual in that it has all of the classic western elements occurring in the Alaska territory. But it starts out in 1896, so the western frontier is closing, and here, instead of pushing West, folks are heading North. The movie achieves a respectable marriage between a cattle drive movie and a mining movie. In the first Yukon town encountered, there is an unforgettably corrupt judge, who acts as prosecutor, mayor, police chief and Hangman. When the judge confronts him after Stewart has taken back the herd the judge 'lawfully seized', Stewart yells through the mountain pass, "Sorry, I reversed your decision..." There are two different women after Jimmy's stammering heart here, each representing a different Western female archetype. But Jimmy is a tough, typical self-reliant cowboy, "I don't need other people, I don't need help, I can take care of me," he tells his long-time buddy Walter Brennan. So there is the classic Western tension here, as in The Gunfighter (1950), between the yearning to settle down and the cowboy's inclination to keep moving on...

This turned into quite a good view, after some initial hesitancy and near-cheesiness when they were on a paddle steamer in Seattle. But it was a nice movie, full of good, stock Western characters. Probably a solid Must See, certainly a Good View, but in no way a Classic.

--Jed

Cast:

  • James Stewart.... Jeff Webster
  • Ruth Roman .... Ronda Castle
  • Corinne Calvet .... Renee Vallon
  • Walter Brennan.... Ben Tatum
  • John McIntire .... Mr. Gannon
  • Jay C. Flippen .... Rube
  • Harry Morgan .... Ketchum
  • Steve Brodie .... Ives
  • Connie Gilchrist .... Hommy
  • Robert J. Wilke .... Madden
  • Chubby Johnson .... Dusty
  • Royal Dano .... Luke
  • Jack Elam .... Newberry
  • Kathleen Freeman .... Grits
  • Connie Van ... Molasses
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