What a super-interesting and unusual Western! And surprisingly under the radar. I’m a big fan of Westerns but had barely heard of this one before Laura assigned it to me, and I’m so glad she did.

The premise is that a rancher in the newly developing California decides to bring a bunch of women west to marry the men working on his ranch, so he hires an experienced wagon master (Robert Taylor) to escort them, goes east to find a bunch of women to volunteer to make the dangerous journey, and then they all head west on a wagon train. Anybody who’s seen a wagon train movie knows what’s coming, and it’s pretty much all here – circling the wagons to defend against Indian attacks, trying to get wagons over steep or rocky terrain, dealing with starvation/thirst/exhaustion after weeks without relief, etc. High drama.