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Monday, January 5, 2015

"Wagon Master" (1950)

The great John Ford said this was his favorite of all the westerns he directed. That's saying a lot but it's easy to see why. A deceptively simple story of two roaming horse traders (Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr.) who sign on to lead a westward bound wagon train of Mormons to their settlement in Utah. Along the way they encounter Indians, outlaws, and medicine show performers, but more importantly issues of tolerance, faith, love, duty, and vengeance. Beautifully filmed in an almost documentary-like fashion (against the stunning Monument Valley backdrop), you get a palpable appreciation for how hard this this way of life must have been.

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