The Far Country

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A self-minded adventurer (Jeff Webster) locks horns with a crooked lawman (Mr. Gannon) while driving cattle to Dawson.

ACTORS :  James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1954

POSTAGE : Free In Australia

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Description

Storyline

In 1896, Jeff Webster sees the start of the Klondike gold rush as a golden opportunity to make a fortune in beef, and woe betide anyone standing in his way. He drives a cattle herd from Wyoming to Seattle, by ship to Skagway, and (after a delay caused by larcenous town boss Gannon) through the mountains to Dawson. There, he and his partner Ben Tatum get into the gold business themselves. Two lovely women fall for misanthropic Jeff, but he believes in every-man-for-himself, turning his back on growing lawlessness, until it finally strikes home.

Another Great Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann Western

Cowboys James Stewart and Walter Brennan take their herd from Seattle to Alaska and on into Canada to stake a claim. Once there, they have to contend with seductive, shifty businesswoman Ruth Roman and ice-cold, happy-go-lucky villain James McIntire.

John Wayne may get talked about more, but his good pal Stewart made some excellent, hard-edged westerns too, some with the great director Anthony Mann. Frankly, I’d take this, with it’s sturdy action sequences and fine melodrama, over North To Alaska any day!

The Far Country features some breathtaking scenery and cinematography that should definitely have been shot in widescreen.

Also, there’s some strong support by the always reliable Brennan, Roman (who’s great), the incredibly cute Corrine Calvet, and James McIntire, who plays one of my favorite types of bad guy, the kind that doesn’t take himself too seriously.

This would make a great double-bill with another highly recommended Mann/Stewart northwest-set western, Bend Of The River.

The best Western movie I’ve ever seen.

Now, admittedly, I’m no ardent student of the genre. As a matter of fact, I’ve tended always to shy away from Westerns because, in spite of all their critical cachet as America’s primal stories (or whatever), they seem to me to forever devolve into tiresome retreads of either “shoot up the Injuns,” “the big gunfight,” or “Hey, let’s form a posse!” In other words, it always seemed to be a genre so rooted in and tied to convention, that it left precious little room for surprise or originality. (And yes, I HAVE seen at least some of the so-called “greats”, and unapologetically lump them into this negative assessment – including Stagecoach, Rio Bravo, My Darling Clementine, and of course the infamous [but profoundly dull] Clint Eastwood-Sergio Leone team-ups in the ’60s.)

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