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How the West Was Won is a 1962 Western about the struggles early settlers faced when crossing over to the frontier west. It is composed of five different phases, each describing different events. The movie centers on one family, the Prescotts, and follows them throughout the film for four generations. The family begins their journey by escaping from river pirates and running into fur trapper Linus Rawlings (played by James Stewart), who joins them on their trip and falls in love with their daughter, Eve.

After the group rafts down a river, the rapids overturn their raft, and the Prescott parents perish. Linus then marries Eve, and they decide to live near the same river where Eve’s parents drowned.

Eve’s sister Lilith then travels to St. Louis to perform as a dancer. A professional gambler by the name of Cleve Van Valen (Gregory Peck) finds out that Lilith has just inherited a California gold mine, and he, wagonmaster Roger Morgan, and Lilith’s new friend Agatha Clegg accompany Lilith to California.

The group arrives in California after surviving an attack by the Cheyenne Indians, and to Lilith’s dismay, there is nothing to the gold mine anymore. Lilith then takes off and lives in a covered wagon, working in a dance hall. Morgan locates her some time later, and the two get married.

Meanwhile, Eve and Linus have now raised a son called Zeb. Linus and Zeb both enlist in the Civil War, where Linus dies in the Battle of Shiloh. The war ends, and Zeb returns home to his mother, but she has passed on from heartbreak. Zeb leaves his parents’ home to look for a better life.

Zeb eventually makes a family, and they meet with Lilith in Arizona at the train station. After surviving a shootout with his enemies, Zeb’s family and Lilith travel to California to live in the West.

| 1962 | 2 hr 42 min | 7.1/10 | 56/100
Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones
John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, Richard Thorpe (uncredited)
Produced By
Bernard Smith

Also starring Carroll Baker

Also starring Lee J. Cobb

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