Wagon Master 08/31/19

The Warner Archive Collection

John Ford’s favorite western of his own work is a curiously gentle, endearingly simple hark-back to the verities of silent filmmaking. Mormons crossing the desert are encumbered by show people and beset by a nasty outlaw family — but don’t worry ’cause the Sons of the Pioneers will still be singing backup for ‘The Chuckawalla Swing.’ Ford rodeo discovery Ben Johnson returns with Harry Carey Jr. and every other Ford stock player not nailed down, and the marvelously direct cinematography is keyed to Ford’s idealized vision of life on the frontier. Joanne Dru, Ward Bond and Charles Kemper round out the ‘refugee caravan.’ On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.