Two men with questionable pasts, Glyn McLyntock and his friend Cole, lead a wagon-train load of homesteaders from Missouri to the Oregon territory. They establish a settlement outside of Portland and as winter nears, it is necessary for McLyntock and Cole to rescue and deliver food and supplies being held in Portland by corrupt officials. On the trip back to the settlement, up river and over a mountain, Cole engineers a mutiny to divert the supplies to a gold mining camp for a handsome profit.
Why haven’t I heard of this fantastic movie before?
Being a huge movie buff, I had thought I had seen every western film ever made with the leading actors of the mid-20th century. We purchased a DVD with 4 old westerns starring James Stewart – “Bend of the River” was the first on the disk. I had never heard of it, but the cast included Rock Hudson and Harry Morgan so I thought it would be interesting at least.
It started out with action right from the start – which really caught me off-guard. I kept thinking to myself that it must get really slow/boring/stupid or something to merit it’s lack of public awareness. Not so – this film kept me completely rapt with all its twists and turns.
The writing was incredible – comedy, drama and human angst all combined within a scene and then again, and again throughout the story. You felt you could relate to each character, no matter how minor or repugnant their role.
I am also a history buff with respect to ghost towns and the Gold Rush. What I have read about the real prospectors and the greedy businessmen who preyed on their pursuit of riches only enhances the believe- ability of this story.
Regardless of the goofs, errors or historical/geographical inaccuracies that have been listed within this site – this movie is a real gem.