How The West Was Won Title

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If anyone has any questions or wants to contribute to this page, please contact me here.

This is a personal fan site I made for the movie How The West Was Won (Wikipedia page), my all-time favorite movie.  I made this page with the understanding that it's covered under fair use (17 U.S.C. § 107), but that's just for CYA.  On the other hand if anyone at MGM takes issue with this page, feel free to contact me.  I am, first and foremost, a fan.  I want more people to see and enjoy the movie, so I've included links to the Amazon pages for the blu-ray version and the DVD version.  None of the Amazon links go to anything sold by me or anyone I know.  The links just go to the general 'ships from and sold by Amazon' pages.

Another reason I made this web page was the cast.  I saw Thelma Ritter in another movie (Miracle On 34th Street) and thought she looked familiar.  I finally remembered that she's Agatha Clegg from How The West Was Won.  I looked her up on IMDB and found that she's been in a ton of stuff (movies, TV, etc.).  I started looking up other How The West Was Won actors and actresses on IMDB.  Most of the people who were in this movie have had an incredible number of other roles.

As a kid I used to quiz my father about what all of those weird jobs (what the heck is a grip?, a best boy?, a gaffer?) in the credits at the end of movies, so I included references to all of the jobs mentioned in the credits below.

The main images below are all 1280x??? resolution, so you might want to make sure your viewing resolution is at least 1280 pixels wide.

How The West Was Won Overture

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What is an overture?

Films with overtures.

Who sings this overture?
     The MGM Chorus, Ken Darby Singers, and Dave Guard and the Whiskey Hill Singers

Lyrics to this overture, "How The West Was Won."

How The West Was Won MGM

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
     Movie studio formed in 1924 when Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (see Samuel Goldwyn), and Louis B. Mayer Pictures.  Wikipedia page for MGM.

Cinerama:  A filming and projection process using 3 movie cameras and 3 projectors to produce a very wide (ratio of 2.59 to 1) image.

How The West Was Won Thanks

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Buffalo (aka American bison)

Custer State Park (Wikipedia page)

Uncompahgre National Forest (Wikipedia page)

Tonto National Forest (Wikipedia page)

Inyo National Forest (Wikipedia page)

State of South Dakota (Wikipedia page)

United States Forest Service (Wikipedia page)

Bureau of Reclamation (Wikipedia page)

How The West Was Won Photography

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What is a director of photography?

William H. Daniels
Milton Krasner
Charles Lang
Joseph LaShelle

ASC:  American Society of Cinemetographers
Technicolor

How The West Was Won Art Set Color

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What is an art director?
What is a set decorator?
What is a color consultant?

George W. Davis
William Ferrari
Addison Hehr
Henry Grace
Don Greenwood Jr.
Jack Mills
Charles K. Hagedon

How The West Was Won Editor 2nd Unit Directors

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What is a film editor?
What is a 2nd unit?
What is an assistant director?

Harold F. Kress
Harold E. Wellman
George Marshall Jr.
William McGarry
Robert Saunders
William Shanks
Wingate Smith

How The West Was Won Production Visual

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What is a production supervisor?
     Unknown.  The Wikipedia page on film crew mentions producers and post-production supervisors, but not production supervisors.  The IMDB page for Thomas Conroy (see below) lists Conroy as 'production supervisor,' but under the category heading of 'production manager.'  Here is the Wikipedia page for unit production manager.

What are special visual effects?

Thomas Conroy
     Conroy was the production supervisor for both How The West Was Won and The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (the only 2 feature length Cinerama movies), as well as being part of the production staff for Seven Wonders Of The World (1956), a documentary filmed in Cinerama.

A. Arnold Gillespie
Robert R. Hoag
Walter Plunkett
Sydney Guilaroff
William Tuttle

How The West Was Won Music Recording

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What is a music co-ordinator?
What is a recording supervisor?

Robert Emmett Dolan
Franklin Milton
     Milton won 3 academy awards for sound, including How The West Was Won, Ben Hur (1959), and Grand Prix (1966).

Ben Hur
Grand Prix

MPAA
MPAA Certificate Numbers, List Of
Westrex Recording System
     Recording system developed by Western Electric
Western Electric
AFL-CIO

How The West Was Won Written Suggested

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James R. Webb

How The West Was Won (Life Magazine) (story begins on page 78)

How The West Was Won Producer

What is a producer?

Bernard Smith

How The West Was Won Civil War Directed

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How The West Was Won is made of 5 acts (sort of like episodes):  The Rivers, The Plains, The Civil War, The Railroad, and The Outlaws, with short historical transition sequences between each act.  There were 3 credited directors and 1 uncredited director.

What is a director?

John Ford
Richard Thorpe
  Uncredited.  Thorpe directed the transitional historical sequences between the 5 acts.

How The West Was Won Railroad

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George Marshall

How The West Was Won Rivers Plains Outlaws

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Henry Hathaway

How The West Was Won Narration

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "This land has a name today and is marked on maps, but the names and the marks and the land all had to be won, won from nature and from primitive man.  Five generations ago, a mere a hundred and twenty five years back, this land was known only as the west, known only to a handful of white men- lonely trappers wandering its vastness in search of beaver.  They were known as mountain men, a new breed.  Men like Jim Bridger, Frenchy Sublette, Linus Rawlings, more indian than the indians in all but blood.  They held to no law but their own, drifted free as the clouds, settled nowhere, kept forever on the move, their moccaisaned feet and unshod horses leaving no trace on the land.  Like the indians with whom they were at peace, they wanted nothing beyond what they found, and little of that.  The mountains, the forest, the harsh country were as unchanging to them as the stars, and just as unyielding.  Far beyond the mountains, beyond the rolling plains, they had left the people of the east- people who were restless in another way, the kind who would look at a mountain and see a watershed, look at a forest and see lumber for houses, look at a stony field and see a farm.  Their faces and their instincts had been turn to the west, ever since Plymouth Rock and Jamestown.  The trappers road was the trail of a wolf or the bend of a canyon, but for whole families chafing to follow the sun there had to be broader ways.  There were no roads into the wilderness- only rivers, and they flowed in the wrong direction (north to south) or else they stopped at the Alleghenies, until one day a new river took source in the mind of a man named Dewitt Clinton.  He conceived of a river that would go west and, in the way Americans have of acting out their dreams, it came to be.  The Erie Canal left the Hudson above Albany and carried clear across to the Great Lakes.  People who yearned for virgin land and a new life now had a highway to take them and they moved along..."

Spencer Tracy:

    Spencer Tracy Bad Day At Black Rock  John J. McReedy, the one armed guy in Bad Day At Black Rock (Amazon, Wikipedia)

      Spencer Tracy Mad Mad Mad Mad World   Sgt. Culpepper in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Amazon,Wikipedia)

    Spencer Tracy Guess Whos Coming To Dinner  Matt Drayton, the father in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (Amazon,Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Arapaho And Stewart

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Basil F. Chief Sky/White Eagle Heath
     This may or may not be Chief Sky Eagle.  IMDB lists 2 Arapaho chiefs in the credits for How The West Was Won.  One of those chiefs is Ben Black Elk Sr., but he's clearly the chief who breaks the arrow in The Railroad.  The reason there are 4 links below for Chief Sky Eagle is that I haven't been able to find any pictures of a younger Chief Sky Eagle.  I wanted younger pictures in order to compare to the above screenshot.  The filming location is Convict Lake (Wikipedia page).
    Find A Grave .com
    IMDB
    Native American Totems .com
    Triblocal .com

James Stewart

    Jimmy Stewart Its A Wonderful Life  George Bailey, the main character in It's A Wonderful Life (Amazon,Wikipedia)

    Jimmy Stewart Rear Window  L. B. Jeffries, the main character in Rear Window (Amazon, Wikipedia)

     Jimmy Stewart Fievel Goes West   Voice of Wylie Burp in American Tale: Fievel Goes West (Amazon,Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Cargomaster

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What is a cargo master?
     I was unable to find a specific definition, but a cargomaster appears to be the ship equivalent to a loadmaster. 7382 all the way.

These scenes were filmed in Smithland, KY and employed about 100 local people as extras.  Buzzard's Roost is located where the cargo masters cabin was in the movie.

Charlie Briggs
      Briggs is listed in the credits as "Flying Arrow barker."

How The West Was Won Harveys And Prescotts

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The song Reynolds begins to sing (before Home In The Meadow) is The Unfortunate Miss Baily (lyrics and song, both by theKingston Trio).

Home In The Meadow can be heard throughout the rest of the movie, sometimes spoken (Karl Malden while building the raft and Debbie Reynolds singing on the riverboat), and sometimes as background music.  Home In The Meadow was written by Sammy Cahn, to the tune of the English folk song Greensleeves, but with different lyrics.  Greensleeves dates back to at least 1580.

Mark Allen
Jamie Ross
Barry Harvey
Kim Charney
Bryan Russell
Carroll Baker

Tudor Owen

    Tudor Owen Towser     Voice of Towser in 101 Dalmations (Amazon,Wikipedia)

Karl Malden

    Karl Malden Streets Of San Francisco    Lt. Mike Stone in The Streets Of San Francisco (Amazon,Wikipedia)

Agnes Moorehead

    Agnes Moorehead Endora     Endora, Samantha's mother on Bewitched (Amazon,Wikipedia)

    Agnes Moorehead Goose     Voice of the goose in Charlotte's Web (Amazon, Wikipedia)

Debbie Reynolds

    Debbie Reynolds Singing In The Rain    Kathy Selden in Singin' In The Rain (Amazon,Wikipedia)

    Debbie Reynolds Charlotte   Voice of Charlotte in Charlotte's Web (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Debbie Reynolds Madame   Voice of Madame in Kiki's Delivery Service (Disney,Wikipedia)

    Debbie Reynolds Lulu Pickles   Voice of Lulu Pickles in Rugrats (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Mules

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The song that begins with "I've got an old mule, her name is Sal" is titled Low Bridge, written in 1905 after Erie Canal traffic was converted from mule power to engine power.  The filming location is the Cumberland River.

How The West Was Won Stuntman

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Loren Janes, stuntman.
     There are a bunch of stuntmen who worked on How The West Was Won and I would happy to mention all of them, but I would have the same problem I have below in identifying the assorted river pirates and Gant henchmen- the movie credits and IMDB page either don't list which character they play or list them as something generic ('Gant henchman') without identifying which specific character they play.  Loren Janes is one of the commentators on the How The West Was Won blu-ray.  He identifies which characters he plays in which shots.

How The West Was Won Shenandoah

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The song that begins with "oh Shenandoah, I long to see you" is titled Oh Shenandoah, written at least as far back as the early 1800's.  That's a real raft, with the real principal actors, on a real river.

How The West Was Won When I Was Single

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The song that begins with "when I was single, dressed up so fine" is titled Single Girl, written some time before 1932.

How The West Was Won Tall Tale

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From the tall tale after dinner:

Linus Rawlings (James Stewart's character, on the right) is fictional, whereas Jim Bridger and Frenchy Sublette were real people.

Pittsburgh
Rocky Mountains

How The West Was Won Going To See The Varmint

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James Stewart is going to see the varmint....

Brigid Bazlen

Walter Brennan has 240 credits for 240 shows and films on IMDB.  Busy guy.

    Walter Brennan Bad Day At Black Rock   Doc Velie in Bad Day At Black Rock (Amazon, Wikipedia)

The cave is a real place, called Cave-In-Rock, that was used by real life river pirates in the late 1700's.

How The West Was Won See The Varmint

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Tap Canutt

The stuntman who falls into the hole is Tap Canutt, son of Yakima Canutt.  Tap Canutt was a stuntman in 38 movies, including Ben-Hur (1959), How The West Was Won (1962), It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Planet Of The Apes (1968).  His father, Yakima Canutt, was a stuntman from 1915 to 1968 and invented the 'going under the stage coach' stunt.

Yakima Canutt

How The West Was Won River Pirate In Water

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Apart from Brigid Bazlen, Walter Brennan, and Lee Van Cleef (see below), there are 5 river pirates listed in the credits (Boyd 'Red' Morgan, Harry Monty, Ken Terrell, Sol Gorss, and Walter Reed).  The one that gets knocked into the water and knifed by James Stewart appears to be Sol Gorss, but I can't comfortably pin down which of the remaining 4 river pirates are played by which of the remaining 4 actors.  At least, this is how it would be if we follow the IMDB credits page for How The West Was Won.

In the commentary on the blu-ray, one of the commentators is Loren Janes, who explains that he plays one of the river pirates.  This directly conflicts with the IMDB credits page, but since he's saying which exact character is him, that makes it a word of god thing.  That means the river pirate identified below as Loren Janes is Loren Janes, but that means the IMDB cast page has to be wrong because, in addition to Brigid Bazlen, Walter Brennan, Sol Gorss, and Lee Van Cleef, there are only 3 more river pirates, but 4 more actors (Morgan, Monty, Terrell, Reed).  Or my count of the river pirates is wrong.

How The West Was Won Lee Van Cleef

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Lee Van Cleef

    Lee Van Cleef The Ugly     Angel Eyes (The Ugly / Sentenza) inThe Good The Bad And The Ugly (Amazon,Wikipedia)

    Lee Van Cleef Escape From New York     Hauk in Escape From New York (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Other River Pirates

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The other 3 unknown river pirates.  Barry Harvey (as Angus Harvey) is the only non-pirate to die in the fight scene.

How The West Was Won Continuity Error

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Continuity error- Agnes Moorehead is standing between Tudor Owen and Karl Malden when the river pirate gets the axe in the back, but the scene cuts to Bryan Russell, Agnes Moorehead, and Carroll Baker reacting to the axe throw.  Inside the story (what the characters are experiencing, not the actors),  Baker doesn't say in a nonchalant voice 'oh, it's Linus throwing an axe at the guys trying rob us, ok mom come stand over here and...react.'  After they react, the next shot is Jimmy Stewart throwing a knife at Lee Van Cleef, then Van Cleef hunching over with a knife in his chest.  Right after the camera cuts away from Van Cleef and back to Karl Malden fighting Walter Brennan, Moorehead is back over on this side of the tent again.

How The West Was Won Rock Of Ages

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Rebecca Prescott (Agnes Moorehead) and Zebulon Prescott (Karl Malden) die when they take a wrong turn and their raft is destroyed in the rapids.

The song is Rock Of Ages.

How The West Was Won Sutters Mill

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "The westward course was no smoother than that of true love.  Not only the hard hand of nature was against it, but the impediment of war.  Trouble over land smouldered along the Mexican border.  Not all Americans were for war, including congressman Abe Lincoln of Illinois, but a war did break out and in the end vast new territories came into the Union, along with their rich Spanish names- Rio Grande, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, El Paso, and, most glittering of all, California, named after a mythical island of pearls and gold in a 15th century novel.  Here in 1848, at Sutter's Mill, a man found something he wasn't even looking for, at the bottom of a ditch, and the cry of his discovery was heard clear across the continent, in Boston, New York, Savannah, and across the oceans, in London, Paris, Berlin, but no where was the clamor of gold heard more eagerly than in St. Lous, the busiest fur trading center in the world and the nosiest, bawdiest, most uppity town west of New York."

Craig Duncan plays James Marshall (the guy who found the gold at Sutter's Mill).

How The West Was Won Wait For the Wagon

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There is an 1850's American folk song titled "Wait For The Wagon."

How The West Was Won Dance Hall Dancers

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The cast list on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) only lists one of the dance hall dancers, Robert Banas.  Based on an image search for 'Robert Banas,' I think that's him in the picture above, but I'm not certain.

How The West Was Won Cleve

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Gregory Peck, an expert on petticoats.  No mention, even as uncredited people, of the other guys in the image above.

How The West Was Won Hylan Seabury

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Clinton Sundberg in the foreground and an unfortunate bit of blackface minstrelsy in the background (adjacent to Sundberg's lapel).

Note:  Lilith takes off 6 petticoats, not 5.  Cleve and the other guy helping to count get the count wrong.  What would have happened if Cleve didn't lose the bet?  He would end up with $50 ('$100 to start you off and my share of the winnings'), but he would then have to decide between continuing the deal or following Lilith out west and trying to get a share of her gold mine.  He might have stuck with the bet as a more sure, immediate thing or he might have followed Lilith as a riskier bet, but with a larger payoff.

How The West Was Won Larch

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John Larch

    John Larch Dirty Harry   The Chief in Dirty Harry (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    John Larch Airplane 2   The prosecuting attorney in Airplane 2 (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Wagons

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "Independence, Missouri was the jump off point for immigrants from everywhere.  Solid, god-fearing families bound for the farmlands of Oregon and get rich quick adventurers racing for the gold of California."

How The West Was Won Morgan

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Robert Preston

    Robert Preston Last Starfighter   Centauri in The Last Starfighter (Amazon,Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Aggie

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Thelma Ritter

    Thelma Ritter Miracle On 34th Street   Uncredited, woman in Macys store directed to Gimbels in Miracle On 34th Street (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Thelma Ritter Rear Window   Stella in Rear Window (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Poor Wayfaring Stranger

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The song playing in the background as Cleve confesses his love to Lilith is "Poor Wayfaring Stranger."

How The West Was Won Raise A Ruckus

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The song is "Raise A Ruckus."

How The West Was Won Burke

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Walter Burke

    Walter Burke Presidents Analyst   Henry Lux, head of the FBR in The President's Analyst (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Roberson

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Chuck Roberson

How The West Was Won Williams

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Jack Williams is the stuntman the horse rolls over.  Jack Williams did stunts in Gone With The Wind (1939), The Magnificent Seven (1960), How The West Was Won (1962), Remo Williams (1985), and Wild Wild West (1999).  I was concerned that his IMDB entry, showing that he was a stuntman in Wild Wild West at the age of 78, might be an error, but prior to Wild Wild West he was active pretty much continually up through 1991.

I know- '...over whom the horse rolls.'  I subscribe to the E. B. White school of linguistics in that regard.

How The West Was Won Claim

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Beulah Archuletta is listed in the IMDB cast list as 'Arapaho woman.'  The IMDB cast list does not list any character named Milly, but Huggins refers to the indian lady in the image above as Milly.  Looking at the results of an image search, I'm note certain, but I'm pretty sure Beulah Archuletta is Milly.

Jay C. Flippen

I would like to know what the two Chinese people sitting by the stream are saying.

How The West Was Won Name In The States

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What Was Your Name In The States is a song dating back to the gold rush era.  The earliest example I was able to find is an 1885 issue of Outing And The Wheelman.  The lyrics were adapted for How The West Was Won.  In the movie Debbie Reynolds sings "are you wanted for life 'cause you left your poor wife," whereas the original song has "did you murder your wife and then flee for your life."

What is an assayer?

How The West Was Won Shoulder

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Continuity error:  Lilith's right shoulder straps moves up and down during her conversation with Morgan, though it stays consistent within each view (from her back vs. from her front).

How The West Was Won Riverboat Poker

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "Those who struck it rich wanted all the pleasures that money could buy, and there were plenty to sell to them.  Even the Sacramento riverboats took on luxury goods."

There are 5 poker players listed in the IMDB cast list- Walter Burke, Christopher Dark, James Griffith, Gene Roth, and Carleton Young.  Walter Burke is specified as a wagon poker player, so the remaining 4 players should be the 4 men at the table with Gregory Peck in the above image.  Try as I might, I can't pin down which actor is which player, even into what I would be comfortable calling the 'maybe' range.

How The West Was Won Riverboat Officer

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Note:  Agatha now has (more) beautiful hair.

Joe Sawyer has 210 credits on IMDB.  Another busy guy.

How The West Was Won Intermission

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What is an intermission?

The only movie with an intermission I remember ever seeing in a theater is Ghandi.

How The West Was Won Entracte

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What does "entr'acte" mean?

How The West Was Won Lincoln

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "Young America was not only a union of east and west.  There were north and south too, and between them the bonds were weakening.  Mrs. Lincoln, now retired from Congress and practicing law, realized that the south would fight, to mold the new and uncomitted territories to its own image.  Still two years from the presidency, he pleaded that the free west remain free and warned of the hazards of a house divided against itself.  But the south, seeing its power and influence wane, struggled against the inevitible in dozens of western towns and slowly the bitter seeds of civil war took root."

Raymond Massey

How The West Was Won Howdy Corporal

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Claude Johnson

Andy Devine, expecting everyone to be back from the war in no time, tells us 'there ain't much glory tromping behind a plow.'

    Andy Devine Mad Mad Mad Mad World    Sheriff of Crockett County in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Andy Devine Robin Hood     Voice of Friar Tuck in the animated Robin Hood (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Peppard

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George Peppard, Eve's son.

    George Peppard A Team     John Hannibal Smith in The A Team (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Gravestones

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The movie never tells us what happened to Sam and Zeke (Eve and Liliths brothers).  When we last saw them everyone was singing Rock Of Ages as they buried Zebulon and Rebecca (Eve and Liliths parents).  Sam Prescott (the older brother) was wounded in the leg during the fight with the river pirates and Zeke (the younger brother) was sick (part of the Prescotts reason for moving west).  I always thought the two gravestones in back were for Sam and Zeke.  I've watched How The West Was Won many times, on VHS and DVD, but this is the first time I've looked at this scene on the restored blu-ray.  The gravestones in the back read "Samuel Rawlings, 1846-1847" and "Edith Rawlings, 1849-1850," so it looks like it took Eve and Linus had a couple of kids besides Jeremiah and Zeb.

How The West Was Won Peppard Leaves

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The song playing as Zeb leaves to join the Union Army is "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."  There are many different versions with slightly different lyrics.

How The West Was Won Surgeon

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "Evening of April 6, 1862.  The guns that had roared all day fell silent around the little church called Shiloh Meeting House.  Many a man had met his god that Sunday, but not in church."

Willis Bouchey has 200 entries on IMDB.  Yet another busy guy.

Time travel would be fun, but keep in mind the nature of medical care in earlier centuries.

How The West Was Won After Shiloh

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "It had been the bloodiest day of the war on the western front.  In the morning it had looked like a Confederate victory, but by nightfall no man cared to use the words 'win' or 'lose.' "  After Shiloh the South never smiled."

I never realized it before, but the man brought in for surgery (too late) and being carried out as Sherman and Grant come in the door is Linus Rawlings (James Stewarts character) and Zeb Rawlings (Linus' son, George Peppards character) is the guy that prevents Sherman from being shot a few minutes later.  Those two things are clear in the movie.  The part I never realized before is that this means both Linus and Zeb were at the Battle Of Shiloh.  When Zeb returns home (1865) after the war, his conversation with his brother Jeremiah indicates that the death of Zeb's mother (Eve Prescott, Caroll Bakers character) is a surprise to Zeb.  Zeb saying "only one thing brought me back, she's..." seems to mean Zeb is already aware that Linus is dead.  ...However, according to the book Golden Corral:  A Roundup Of Magnificent Western Films, Zeb is not aware of Linus' death until at least when Zeb leaves Shiloh.

How The West Was Won Desert

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Russ Tamblyn does not appear to be a deserter.  His general attitude and talk of skedaddling out of here doesn't feel like that of a man who wants to desert.  He just doesn't have that beaten air to him, like George Peppard on the right.  Tamblyn sounds much more like an active Confederate encouraging Union soldiers to desert.  ...However (again), the Golden Corral (the book, see above) says both Tamblyn and Peppard are considering deserting.  I suppose that may be, but Tamblyn is just too polished in his approach to Peppard.  I can't escape the feeling that Tamblyns character is part of a fifth column, trying to get Peppard to desert.

    Russ Tamblyn West Side Story     Riff Lorton, leader of the Jets in West Side Story (Amazon, Wikipedia)

In a call back to Andy Devine's earlier line, Peppard says "there ain't much glory looking at a man with his guts hanging out."

How The West Was Won Sherman And Grant

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John Wayne
Harry Morgan

General William Tecumseh Sherman
General Ulysses S. Grant

How The West Was Won Fonda Widmark

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "Even while north and south were being torn apart, east and west had been drawn together by the Pony Express, the most daring mail route in history.  Eighty riders were in the saddle at all times, night and day, in all weather, half of them riding east, half riding west, between Missouri and Sacramento, carrying mail across country in days instead of months.  Unarmed they rode, to save weight.  Five dollars a letter the mail cost, and on thin paper too.  It was courage, skill, and speed against hostile indians, bandits, hell, and occasional high water.  Even as they rode men were already building a faster message carrier across the country- the overland telegraph- and the indians found a new amusement- listening to the level tune of the singing wires.  But far less amusing to the indians was the coming of the steel roadway of the iron horse.  The surveyor's route lay through imense natural barriers- the Rocky Mountains and the equally discouraging High Sierras- but range upon range could never stop the titanic contentest between two corporate giants racing to put down the greatest mileage of track before they met.  The Central Pacific eastward from Sacramento through the Sierras and the Union Pacific forging westward across the plains, with the Rockies still to come.  The prize in the race was free land, vast parcels for every mile of track laid, land that would one day be worth millions."

Henry Fonda

Richard Widmark

    Richard Widmark Alvarez Kelley     Colonel Tom Rossiter in Alvarez Kelly (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Arapaho

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Ben Black Elk Sr.
    I had some difficulty pinning down his name because his father was named Black Elk and he (the guy in the picture) had a son named Black Elk.  According to the Wikipedia page for the elder Black Elk (the actors father), the actor was born Black Elk.  The elder Black Elk was born in 1863 and died in 1950.  After the death of the elder Black Elks wife (Katie War Bonnett) in 1903, the elder Black Elk became a Catholic, took the christian name Nicholas, and was then called Nicholas Black Elk.  The elders son was Ben Black Elk (the actor).    According to this page, the actor Black Elk was born in about 1899 and died in 1973.  According to this page, the actor Black Elk had a son called Black Elk, born in about 1932 and died in 1948, but it's not clear if the son was called Ben Black Elk or (something else) Black Elk.  The actor Black Elk could be Black Elk Jr., based on being a son of Black Elk and being called Black Elk.  The actor Black Elk could be Ben Black Elk Sr. because he had a son called Ben Black Elk.

William Shakespeare
     I have not been able to find a page specifically about the Arapaho translator William Shakespeare, but I have found several references to him (here, here, here, and here).  He had a Native American name, but when clerks processed a persons US citizenship, if the person didn't already have an English-sounding name, the clerks issued a name to the person, sometimes actually picking a random name out of a hat.

How The West Was Won Itching

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "By now the Central Pacific had broken through the wall of the High Sierras and was straining eastward across the flatlands of Nevada while the Union Pacific, thanks to its long peace with the indians, was able to keep up pressure just as avidly in the opposite direction.  Competition was exciting, but also costly.  Both companies were itching to earn money from tracks already laid."

How The West Was Won Buffalo

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This shot required 3 takes.  In real life the buffalo were stampeded through the railroad camp 3 times.

In addition to How The West Was Won (my favorite movie), another movie in the top five for me is the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments.  Part of what I enjoy about these movies is the 'cast of thousands' and the sheer time and effort involved in putting all of it together.  I can appreciate movies like 300 and Lord Of The Rings, with hundreds of thousands of orcs and soldiers on screen at once, but these are shiny computer effects and I know it.  The buffalo stampede in How The West Was Won does a far better job of giving the impression of a force of nature than any number of computer generated monsters ever has for me.

How The West Was Won Alabama Hills

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Henry Fondas cabin was located in Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA.  Hopefull he didn't have too much trouble with graboids.

How The West Was Won Cattlemen

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "The coming of railroads brought changes to the land through which they passed.  Now immense herds of cattle were driven hundreds of miles to meet the lines bound for markets in the east.  Fences went up, cattle trails were barred, and a long and bloody wrangle began between cattlemen and homesteaders.  The law was in the hands of whoever could shoot fast and straight, accept where there was somebody determined to stand for law.  Others might look on sheep and a shepherd as a pastoral scene.  Not the cattlemen.  To him, sheep destroyed grass and grass came dear.  And if a mans' life were held cheaper than grass, it was considered a casualty of war, not a crime.  And in all this the man with the star was only one against many.  But time was running out for the reckless ones, the desperados, the galloping gunshot boys, as more and more citizens demanded respect for the law and showed themselves ready to fight to uphold it.  And the raw new towns that sprung up in the west began to dream of becoming as refined as that one-time hooligan city by the Golden Gate.  San Francisco was now respectable, so sophisticated in fact, it even had mansions up for auction."

How The West Was Won Auction

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J. Edward McKinley

Paul Bryar makes everyone else on the IMDB cast page look lazy.  Bryar has 357 credits on IMDB.  Busier than everyone else.

How The West Was Won Attorney

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David Brian

    David Brian Star Trek     John Gill (the fuhrer) in the episode Patterns Of Force (the Nazi episode) of Star Trek (Amazon, Wikipedia).

The chest on our left (to Liliths right) appears in Singing In The Rain (1952), in the song Good Morning.  Singing In The Rain stars Debbie Reynolds (in addition to Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor).  Here's a Youtube clip.  The chest appears at 2:02.

How The West Was Won Rawlings

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Stanley Livingston

Carolyn Jones

    Carolyn Jones Addams Family     Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Carolyn Jones Marsha Queen Of The Diamonds     Marsha, Queen Of The Diamonds, in Batman (no good Amazon link but try here and here, Wikipedia)

I was unable to find an IMDB page or a Wikipedia page for either Wendy Muldoon or Joe Scott.  This may have been their only movie.

How The West Was Won Gant

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Rodolfo Acosta
Jack Lambert

Harry Dean Stanton

    Harry Dean Stanton Alien    Brett in Alien (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Harry Dean Stanton Escape From New York     Brain in Escape From New York (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Harry Dean Stanton Avengers  Security guard in The Avengers (Amazon, Wikipedia))

Eli Wallach

    Eli Wallach Magnificent Seven     Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (Amazon, Wikipedia)

     Eli Wallach Good Bad Ugly     Tuco Ramirez in The Good The Bad And The Ugly (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Eli Wallach Mr Freeze   Mr. Freeze in the 1960s Batman (no good Amazon link but try here and here, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Marshal

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Mickey Shaughnessy
Lee J. Cobb

How The West Was Won Conductor

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Karl Swenson

    Karl Swenson Leave It To Beaver    George Haskell (Eddie Haskells father) in Leave It To Beaver (Amazon, Wikipedia)

    Karl Swenson Sword In The Stone   Voice of Merlin in Sword In The Stone (Amazon, Wikipedia)

How The West Was Won Train Chase

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I never noticed until this watch-through, but during the train robbery when Gants men are catching up to the train and one of the men falls off his horse, he's pushed by one of the other men.  This makes no sense because both of these men are there to rob the train.  Neither is a law man.  So why does the guy on our right push the guy on the left off of his horse?

How The West Was Won Exit

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Spencer Tracy narrates:
     "The west that was won by its pioneers, settlers, adventurers is long gone now.  Yet it is theirs forever, for they left tracks in history that will never be eroded by wind or rain, never plowed under by tractors, never buried in the compost of events.  Out of the hard simplicity of their lives, out of their vitality, their hopes, and their sorrows, grew legends of courage and pride to inspire their children and their childrens children.  From soil enriched by their blood, out of their fever to explore and build, came lakes where once were burning deserts, came the goods of the earth- mines and wheatfields, orchards and great lumber mills, all the sinews of a growing country.  Out of their rude settlements, their trading posts came cities to rank among the great ones of the world.  All the heritage of a people free to dream, free to act, free to mold their own destiny."

Below is a montage I made of stuntman Loren Janes' roles in How The West Was Won and a montage of all the dancing that goes on in the movie.

How The West Was Won Loren Janes

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Future Plans
     I would like to visit Perkinsville, AZ for the exterior views and the museum.
     I would like to see a Cinerama movie in a Cinerama theater (only 3 left in the world).  The closes I've ever come to that was seeing It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Cinerama Dome (Wikipedia page) in Hollywood, CA.
     I would like to see How The West Was Won in full 6K resolution (2K resolution for each of Cinerama's 3 panels), the resolution used by MGM when the original masters of How The West Was Won were processed for the blu-ray release.
     I would like to visit the USC library and spend some time perusing the Alfred Newman collection.
     I would like to interview any surviving people who were in or worked on How The West Was Won, partly for any personal stories and partly for names.  I am an investigator (backgrounds) by trade and I've interviewed thousands of people over the years.  Partly as a fan and partly as an investigator, I can't stand not knowing the name and story of every last person, down to the briefest extra.
     I would like to chat with MGM.  Maybe there's a dusty old vault somewhere like the warehouse at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark with a box containing a list of every last extra who worked on the movie.

Resources
     My primary resource for constructing this web page is the movies credits.
     My second resource was the How The West Was Won IMDB page.
     My third resource was the commentary track on the blu-ray.