Westward the Women

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Westward the Women
Westward the Women.jpg
Theatrical Film Poster
Directed by William A. Wellman
Produced by Dore Schary
Screenplay by Charles Schnee
Story by Frank Capra
Starring Robert Taylor
Denise Darcel
John McIntire
Music by Jeff Alexander
Cinematography William C. Mellor
Edited by James E. Newcom
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
December 31, 1951
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,203,000[1]
Box office $3,996,000[1]

Westward the Women is a 1951 western film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel and John McIntire.


In 1851, Roy Whitman (John McIntire) decides to transport marriageable women west to join his lonely men, hoping the couples will put down roots and settle his California valley. Roy hires a skeptical, hardened trail boss, Buck Wyatt (Robert Taylor), to lead the wagon train along the California Trail. In Chicago, Roy recruits 138 "good women", after they have been warned of the journey's hardships and dangers by Buck. Telling the women about his valley, Roy encourages them to pick their prospective mates from pictures he has tacked to a board. Two saloon girls, Fifi Danon (Denise Darcel) and Laurie Smith (Julie Bishop), hastily change their flashy clothes when others like them are rejected. Roy is not fooled by their disguise, but convinced of their sincere wish to reform, he adds them to the group.

During the journey, Buck shoots one of his men as punishment for raping Laurie. As a result, all but two of the trail hands desert the wagons in the middle of the night, taking eight of the women with them. This leaves only Ito (Henry Nakamura), the Japanese cook, and Sid Cutler (an uncredited Pat Conway), who has fallen in love with an already-pregnant Rose Meyers (Beverly Dennis), to lead the train. Buck, feeling he cannot continue without more experienced hands, decides the group must turn back. The women refuse to accept his decision. Roy believes that the women can learn to do "a man's job", so Buck starts training them. However, the only child in the group is accidentally shot by his own mother during shooting practice. Buck is forced to knock out the distraught woman, (Renata Vanni) when she refuses to leave her son's grave in the desert.

The women perform heroically, persevering through many hardships, including a stampede. An Indian attack kills Roy, Sid, and some of the women. Laurie drowns when a rainstorm overturns her wagon, trapping her inside. However, Fifi's bravery and determination begin to thaw out Buck's attitude towards women in general and her in particular. When the survivors finally reach their destination, the women balk at entering town where their prospective grooms are waiting - until Buck can bring them decent clothing and "pretty things" so that they can look presentable. The men of the valley gather together curtains, tablecloths, Indian blankets, any material they can find, for the women to make into new clothes.

The ladies then ride triumphantly into town and pair up with the men whose photographs they carried across country. The happy couples get in line before the preacher. Ito coaxes Fifi to convince Buck to join the line to get married.



A documentary included in the film's DVD ASIN B007RKFXQW states that it was filmed at various locations in Kane County, Utah.


According to MGM records the film earned $2,640,000 in the US and Canada and $1,356,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $266,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

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