The Far Horizons (1955)

107-108 mins | Adventure | June 1955

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HISTORY

In the onscreen credits, the film is subtitled "The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition." The working titles of this film were Beyond the Blue Horizon , Blue Horizons , Two Captains West , Lewis and Clark , and Sacajawea of the Shoshones . As depicted in the film, Meriwether Lewis (1774--1809), a captain in the U.S. Army, became secretary to President Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Under Jefferson's direction, Lewis planned an expedition to explore the land west of the Mississippi River, forging a route to the Pacific Ocean. With his friend, Lt. William Clark (1770--1838), Lewis and his expedition left Missouri in May 1804 and reached Oregon's coast in Nov 1805. After wintering in Oregon, the expedition headed back east in Mar 1806, reaching St. Louis in Sep 1806. In addition to being the official commander of the expedition, Lewis served as naturalist, collecting plant, animal and mineral specimens. Clark functioned as record keeper and mapmaker. In 1807, Jefferson named Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory. After Lewis died in 1809, a victim of either suicide or murder, Clark became responsible for the publication of the expedition's journals. Lewis never married, while Clark was twice married.
       Sacajawea (sometimes translated as "Birdwoman") of the Shoshoni tribe, not only guided the expedition throughout much of its 8,000 mile journey, but also acted as a diplomat to some fifty tribes encountered by the explorers. Unlike in the film, when she joined the expedition, she was already married to Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, who accompanied her on the journey. In 1998, the ... More Less

In the onscreen credits, the film is subtitled "The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition." The working titles of this film were Beyond the Blue Horizon , Blue Horizons , Two Captains West , Lewis and Clark , and Sacajawea of the Shoshones . As depicted in the film, Meriwether Lewis (1774--1809), a captain in the U.S. Army, became secretary to President Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Under Jefferson's direction, Lewis planned an expedition to explore the land west of the Mississippi River, forging a route to the Pacific Ocean. With his friend, Lt. William Clark (1770--1838), Lewis and his expedition left Missouri in May 1804 and reached Oregon's coast in Nov 1805. After wintering in Oregon, the expedition headed back east in Mar 1806, reaching St. Louis in Sep 1806. In addition to being the official commander of the expedition, Lewis served as naturalist, collecting plant, animal and mineral specimens. Clark functioned as record keeper and mapmaker. In 1807, Jefferson named Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory. After Lewis died in 1809, a victim of either suicide or murder, Clark became responsible for the publication of the expedition's journals. Lewis never married, while Clark was twice married.
       Sacajawea (sometimes translated as "Birdwoman") of the Shoshoni tribe, not only guided the expedition throughout much of its 8,000 mile journey, but also acted as a diplomat to some fifty tribes encountered by the explorers. Unlike in the film, when she joined the expedition, she was already married to Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, who accompanied her on the journey. In 1998, the U.S. Mint honored Sacajawea with her own one-dollar coin. The tribe referred to in the film as Minitari is more commonly known as the Hidatsa tribe.
       A LAT news item dated 30 Apr 1953 reported that producers Pine and Thomas were negotiating with M-G-M to have Leslie Caron play "Sacajawea." Location filming took place near Jackson Hole, WY, according to contemporary sources. As noted in late Jul 1954 HR news items, during location filming, Donna Reed was rushed by plane from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City for emergency surgery, but was back on the set two days later. HR news items add Judy Tyler and BooBoo Scharf to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The picture was re-released in 1961 as Untamed West . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
20 May 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 May 55
p. 11.
Harrison's Reports
21 May 55
p. 83.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1954
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1954
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 1954
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1954
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 55
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
30 Apr 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 May 55
p. 441.
New York Times
21 May 55
p. 11.
The Exhibitor
1 Jun 55
p. 3970.
Variety
25 May 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Prod mgr
Dial coach
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Sacajawea of the Shoshones by Della Gould Emmons (Portland, OR, 1943).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Beyond the Blue Horizon
Blue Horizons
Lewis and Clark
Sacajawea of the Shoshones
Two Captains West
Release Date:
June 1955
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 20 May 1955
Production Date:
early July--late August 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
6 January 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4799
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
107-108
Length(in feet):
9,695
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17254
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Capt. Meriwether Lewis, secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, is visiting the home of Congressman Hancock, whose lovely daughter Julia has won his heart. He is about to reveal his feelings to her when news arrives that the United States has purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, thereby more than doubling the young nation's size. Lewis greets his old friend, Lt. William Clark, who has just arrived at the Hancock home, but then learns that the President has recalled him to Washington. At the White House, Jefferson places Lewis in charge of a military expedition that is to explore and chart the new territory from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide. Jefferson orders Lewis to continue even beyond the boundary of the purchase, however, proceeding, if possible, to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis wants Clark to share the command of the expedition, but when he returns to the Hancock estate, he learns that his friend and Julia have become engaged. Because Clark was unaware of Lewis' feelings for Julia, the captain forgives him, but his pain at losing Julia is evident. Later, in Wood River, near St. Louis, the two meet the flinty Sgt. Cass, along with most of the men who will accompany them, and Clark is annoyed to learn that a paperwork error has delayed his promotion to the rank of captain. The expedition travels up the Missouri in a large keelboat, mapping the river as they go. Upon arriving at a Minitari Indian village, Lewis assures the chief that the United States hopes for peaceful and friendly relations with the tribe. Although the tribal leader publicly acknowledges the sovereignty of the ... +


Capt. Meriwether Lewis, secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, is visiting the home of Congressman Hancock, whose lovely daughter Julia has won his heart. He is about to reveal his feelings to her when news arrives that the United States has purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, thereby more than doubling the young nation's size. Lewis greets his old friend, Lt. William Clark, who has just arrived at the Hancock home, but then learns that the President has recalled him to Washington. At the White House, Jefferson places Lewis in charge of a military expedition that is to explore and chart the new territory from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide. Jefferson orders Lewis to continue even beyond the boundary of the purchase, however, proceeding, if possible, to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis wants Clark to share the command of the expedition, but when he returns to the Hancock estate, he learns that his friend and Julia have become engaged. Because Clark was unaware of Lewis' feelings for Julia, the captain forgives him, but his pain at losing Julia is evident. Later, in Wood River, near St. Louis, the two meet the flinty Sgt. Cass, along with most of the men who will accompany them, and Clark is annoyed to learn that a paperwork error has delayed his promotion to the rank of captain. The expedition travels up the Missouri in a large keelboat, mapping the river as they go. Upon arriving at a Minitari Indian village, Lewis assures the chief that the United States hopes for peaceful and friendly relations with the tribe. Although the tribal leader publicly acknowledges the sovereignty of the United States, he secretly plans for his warriors to ambush the expedition when it resumes its course. Assisting him is a French trader named Charboneau, who agrees to lead Lewis and Clark into the trap in exchange for a captured Shoshoni slave named Sacajawea. Seeing a chance to escape slavery and return to her people, Sacajawea asks if she might serve as the expedition's guide, but Clark distrusts Indians and refuses her request. After the white men leave, Sacajawea witnesses a war dance and realizes that the white men are heading into an ambush. She steals a horse and secretly rides ahead of the departing war party, arriving at the expedition's camp in time to prepare the soldiers for battle. After they defeat the Indians, Clark invites her to remain with the expedition. Continuing up the Missouri, the party splits up, with Lewis' group exploring one fork of the river, and Clark's the fork recommended by Sacajawea. After Sacajawea leaps into the strong current to rescue Clark's book of maps, he begins to call her Janie, a name, he remarks, that means "beautiful." Later, Clark falls ill, and as Sacajawea nurses him back to health, she realizes she is in love with him. Following his recovery, Clark tries to bolster the flagging spirits of the men, but when he dances with Sacajawea, Charboneau attacks him with a knife and claims that she is his. Sacajawea later declares that because he fought for her, Clark now possesses her. Clark gently rebuffs her because of her race, and even though he is unable to explain his reservations, she promises to wait for his marriage proposal. With both parties now reunited, the expedition finally reaches the village led by Sacajawea's brother Cameahwait. The Shoshonis are grateful to the explorers for returning their abducted sister and agree to provide horses for their journey over the mountains. Opposed to this plan is Wild Eagle, the warrior to whom Sacajawea had been promised before her capture. That night, Sacajawea again offers herself to Clark, but he allows her to remain in the tent only to prevent her from being given to Wild Eagle. Cameahwait guides the expedition over the mountains to the river "that leads to the great salt water." A messenger is sent ahead of the party to advise the Nez Perce that the white men are friends. Wild Eagle, however, kills the messenger and paddles into Nez Perce country intending to lay a trap. Meanwhile, Lewis accuses Clark of disregarding the feelings of both Sacajawea and Julia, and demands that the Shoshoni princess be sent home. Seeing that Clark intends to bring Sacajawea along, Lewis uses his superior rank to assume full command of the expedition, and orders Clark to leave her onshore. As the party canoes downriver, Sacajawea keeps pace with them by running along the shore until she collapses from exhaustion. Clark kisses her and places her in his canoe, whereupon Lewis threatens to have him court-martialed, and the two brawl. Down river, the party encounters the Nez Perce ambush devised by Wild Eagle. During the subsequent battle, Clark kills Wild Eagle, and Lewis removes the rope blocking the river. When the expedition finally reaches the Pacific Ocean, the slain are buried, and Lewis claims all of the land between the Rockies and the Pacific for the United States. Back in Washington, D.C. in 1806, Lewis and Clark introduce Sacajawea to President Jefferson. Later, Julia and "Janie" discuss the responsibilities of being a white man's wife, and Julia realizes that Clark loves the Shoshoni woman. When Julia learns that Lewis intends to have Clark court-martialed on her account, she asks Lewis to forego his plan, and to Clark's surprise and gratitude, Lewis desists. At a White House reception later that day, Julia tells Clark that "Janie" has returned to her own people, reading him a letter that Sacajawea dictated. In it, she explains that although the white people were kind to her, they were not her people, the United States not her country. "Have happy memories, like ours were, my love," she writes, "all the days of your life." +

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

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