Many Rivers to Cross (1955)

94 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 4 February 1955

Director:

Roy Rowland

Producer:

Jack Cummings

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The film opens with the following written dedication: "We respectfully dedicate our story to the frontier women of America, who helped their men settle the Kentucky wilderness. They were gallant and courageous, and without their aggressive cooperation--few of us would be around to see this picture." Cowboy singer Sheb Wooley sings the song "The Berry Tree" over the opening credits, but the song is also sung in the film by Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker.
       According to a 15 Feb 1954 HR news item, Louis Calhern was originally cast in a top role. A 14 May 1954 HR news item reported that Anthony Nelson would test for a juvenile role, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. James Arness was borrowed for this production from Wayne-Fellows Productions. Portions of the film were shot on location at Cloverdale and along the Russian River, CA. Several reviews compared the film with M-G-M's highly successful 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (See Entry). Many Rivers to Cross was the last of three films in which Taylor and Parker ... More Less

The film opens with the following written dedication: "We respectfully dedicate our story to the frontier women of America, who helped their men settle the Kentucky wilderness. They were gallant and courageous, and without their aggressive cooperation--few of us would be around to see this picture." Cowboy singer Sheb Wooley sings the song "The Berry Tree" over the opening credits, but the song is also sung in the film by Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker.
       According to a 15 Feb 1954 HR news item, Louis Calhern was originally cast in a top role. A 14 May 1954 HR news item reported that Anthony Nelson would test for a juvenile role, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. James Arness was borrowed for this production from Wayne-Fellows Productions. Portions of the film were shot on location at Cloverdale and along the Russian River, CA. Several reviews compared the film with M-G-M's highly successful 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (See Entry). Many Rivers to Cross was the last of three films in which Taylor and Parker co-starred. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Feb 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 54
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 54
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 54
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 54
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 54
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Feb 55
p. 313.
New York Times
24 Feb 55
p. 21.
Variety
2 Feb 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Many Rivers to Cross" by Steve Frazee in Argosy (May 1951).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Higher Up The Berry Tree," traditional, sung by Sheb Wooley.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 February 1955
Production Date:
late May--12 July 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 January 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4443
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
94
Length(in feet):
8,539
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17168
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In late 18th century Kentucky, a young man named Miles Henderson calls on Noah Crawford and his wife to complain that just as the preacher is about to make his annual visit to town, the Crawfords' daughter Cissie is suddenly reluctant to marry him. Mrs. Crawford blames Cissie's change of heart on handsome trapper Bushrod Gentry, who came to the area several days earlier. Meanwhile, at Bushrod's campsite, the trapper tells the infatuated Cissie that he is not yet ready to give up the wandering life. When Cissie starts to leave, she is attacked by a Shawnee Indian, but Bushrod fends him off with his whip. Next day, Bushrod is hunting in the woods when a group of Shawnee ambush him, but he is saved by a well-timed shot by Mary Stuart Cherne. Mary takes the wounded Bushrod to her family home on Barren River, and her father Cadmus, a garrulous Scotsman, insists that the trapper stay with them a few days. Mary privately declares to her mother that she intends to marry Bushrod. That evening, Mary's suitor, the coarse, ill-tempered Luke Radford, comes by, but Mary refuses to go out with him. Late at night, Mary wakes Bushrod, then takes him to a secret cave and requests a kiss. When she suggests that they discuss their future, however, Bushrod launches into the well-rehearsed speech he recited to Cissie earlier. Determined to remain a bachelor, Bushrod slips away early the next morning, and Mary tells the family's Indian servant Sandak to get Luke. Mary then tracks Bushrod to the river where he is bathing, brings him back at gunpoint and locks him in the shed. When Luke arrives, Mary ... +


In late 18th century Kentucky, a young man named Miles Henderson calls on Noah Crawford and his wife to complain that just as the preacher is about to make his annual visit to town, the Crawfords' daughter Cissie is suddenly reluctant to marry him. Mrs. Crawford blames Cissie's change of heart on handsome trapper Bushrod Gentry, who came to the area several days earlier. Meanwhile, at Bushrod's campsite, the trapper tells the infatuated Cissie that he is not yet ready to give up the wandering life. When Cissie starts to leave, she is attacked by a Shawnee Indian, but Bushrod fends him off with his whip. Next day, Bushrod is hunting in the woods when a group of Shawnee ambush him, but he is saved by a well-timed shot by Mary Stuart Cherne. Mary takes the wounded Bushrod to her family home on Barren River, and her father Cadmus, a garrulous Scotsman, insists that the trapper stay with them a few days. Mary privately declares to her mother that she intends to marry Bushrod. That evening, Mary's suitor, the coarse, ill-tempered Luke Radford, comes by, but Mary refuses to go out with him. Late at night, Mary wakes Bushrod, then takes him to a secret cave and requests a kiss. When she suggests that they discuss their future, however, Bushrod launches into the well-rehearsed speech he recited to Cissie earlier. Determined to remain a bachelor, Bushrod slips away early the next morning, and Mary tells the family's Indian servant Sandak to get Luke. Mary then tracks Bushrod to the river where he is bathing, brings him back at gunpoint and locks him in the shed. When Luke arrives, Mary tells him that Bushrod has insulted her. Boasting of his prowess, Luke challenges Bushrod to battle, and the two men engage in a wild fistfight as Mary's family and neighbors cheer from the sidelines. Bushrod wins, but denounces Mary for her treachery in orchestrating the fight. Cadmus orders Mary to make up with Luke, and the lovelorn young woman stays up half the night trying to think of a way to get Bushrod to marry her. The following day, Preacher Ellis comes to town to conduct a group marriage ceremony. When Bushrod tries to move on that afternoon, Mary's four brothers surround him and hold him at gunpoint, and Cadmus accuses him of seducing her in the cave. Despite his protestations of innocence, Bushrod is forced to exchange wedding vows with Mary. After the impromptu ceremony, Bushrod angrily leaves, unaware that Mary is tracking him. He stops at an inn in Bowling Green, but when the innkeeper tries to make him pay for a dinner he does not want, Bushrod punches him, only to learn that the innkeeper is the justice of the peace. Bushrod is sentenced to thirty days in jail, but is freed from his cell by Mary. As they walk through the woods, Mary feigns exhaustion and insists on stopping to celebrate their wedding night. Bushrod rejects her advances, claiming that he is "sick of being chased like a runaway bull," and they are soon joined by a group of men who are out to avenge a Shawnee attack. Bushrod quickly offers to join the "punishment party," and leaves Mary with two of the men, instructing them to take her back to Bowling Green. With the help of Sandak, who has followed her through the woods, Mary escapes from the two men and sets off after Bushrod. Meanwhile, at a tavern, the party's leader, Esau Hamilton, strikes up a friendship with Bushrod, having heard tales of his exploits over the years. Mary catches up with Bushrod at the tavern and tells him she is ending their marriage and going home to Luke. Inspired by Bushrod's carefree lifestyle, Esau decides to leave his family and become a trapper, but when word comes that his little daughter is sick, he rushes home, accompanied by Bushrod. Bushrod suggests using steam to treat her, and after a long night, the child's fever breaks. Moved by the experience, Bushrod gruffly tells Esau that he has decided to go trapping by himself, and the two men warmly say goodbye. Bushrod starts back to see Mary, and on the way encounters two survivors of a Shawnee raid, who say the Indians are headed toward Barren River. Racing through the woods, Bushrod comes across the badly injured Sandak, who tells him Mary fled when they were attacked by Shawnee. Meanwhile, Mary hides in a hollow tree trunk in the river as four Indians pursue her. Bushrod arrives just as one of them is about to scalp her, and they take shelter in the cave as the other Indians begin to attack. In between quarreling with each other, Bushrod and Mary manage to overcome the remaining Shawnee. The battle over, Bushrod once again starts to leave, but Mary runs after him and announces that he has won her. Happily resigning himself to the inevitable, Bushrod seizes Mary in a passionate embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.