Friday, September 02, 2005

Wagon Master


Dir: John Ford

Ford and Western, so I watched. The story involves a group of Mormon colonists who hire two cowboys to get them across the San Juan Valley and to the Promised Land. Along the way, they are hijacked by a gang of fugitives. The film's predominant tone is light, almost sweet. The bad guys really aren't all that bad and the good guys are rather comtemplative and flawed (the wagon master's actually get lost once). Most of the tension of the film arises from the anticipation of how the pious Mormons will cohabitate with the bandits, as well as some hucksters that they pick along the way. I can't say the movie left a major impression; it was a slight little story that was more diversionary than revelatory, with lots of wide vista shots and river fording scenes to hold the eye.

The most interesting thing about the film was the subject of vice and virtue in the wagon train. The Mormons are escaping liscentiousness, and it is indeed women and liquor and violence that come to haunt them through their additions. Purging these elements from the wagon train (by reforming or killing them) permits arrival at the Promised Land. I don't know what Ford's religion/morals were, but this was a a pretty big defence of group religious morality.

Not recommending. But I have done less interesting things with an hour and half in my life. On TCM On Demand now.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 9/02/2005 11:32:00 PM that...

Ford is allowed a hiccup here and there. But the correct answer is Mormon...Mormon.