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Westward the Women (1951)

Although primarily associated with masculine genres like Westerns and war films, William A. Wellman had directed his fair share of pictures with strong female leads like Barbara Stanwyck, Ruth Chatterton and Loretta Young. So, when friend Frank Capra presented him with the idea for a Western about women taking over a wagon train, it seemed a natural for him. Robert Taylor stars as their wagon master, but it’s the women, headed by Denise Darcel and Hope Emerson, who prove their mettle by driving the wagons, holding off attackers, scaling mountain trails and braving flood-swollen rivers. Wellman put his actresses through rigorous training in pioneer skills before filming started, and it shows as they brave what ads called “An Adventure That Most Men Feared To Face.” 

d. William A. Wellman, 117m, 35mm

WESTWARD THE WOMEN will be preceded by the awarding of The Robert Osborne Award to Jeanine Basinger.