Bend of the River

[3.5 stars] Bend of the River (1952) on IMDb

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Directed by Anthony Mann, starring Jimmy Stewart. That's a pretty good combination. They made eight movies together between 1950 and 1955, five of them Westerns. This one is from 1952.

Jimmy plays Glyn McLyntock, guiding a wagon train of pilgrims out to their new home in Oregon. As the movie begins, he rescues one Emerson Cole from a lynching; Cole is a scoundrel, but doesn't deserve that. A short time later, Cole returns the favor by saving McLyntock's life in a battle with some pesky Indians. An uneasy and, it turns out, temporary alliance is formed.

The wagons make it to Portland, eventually, but the settlers' problems aren't over. Their new home is out in the wilderness, they're short on supplies, and they get shafted by the merchant with whom they made arrangements. McLyntock must deal with the crook, and also faces a double cross by his putative ally, Cole.

It's action-packed, full of beautiful scenery, and a decent amount of fun. (For a 1950s movie, the body count is pretty high.) Rock Hudson has a medium-sized role, and I was surprised to learn that Jimmy Stewart resented the disproportionate amount of attention paid to Hudson when the movie came out, so much so that he refused to work with him again. (Or so IMDB claims.) I thought Jimmy liked everybody.


Last Modified 2012-09-25 4:50 AM EST