Many Rivers To Cross – 1955

 

I love great character names…Holly Golightly, Trip Fontaine, Rooster Cogburn, Lloyd Dobler…but my favorite character name of all time happens to come from one of my favorite movies:

Many Rivers To Cross – starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker

This 1955 MGM film stars Robert Taylor as, are you ready, Bushrod Gentry (great name, right?) and Eleanor Parker as his devoted admirer, Mary Stuart Cherne.

This underrated western-comedy is pure enjoyment, mainly due to the banter between Parker and Taylor.

Bushrod Gentry (Taylor) is a somewhat famous frontiersman who is devoted to his freewheeling life as a fur trapper.  His pioneer playboy lifestyle is going along fairly well until he meets Mary Stuart Cherne (Parker), an almost-spinster who sets her desperate and determined cap for Bushrod.  Mary is bound to have her way and traps Bushrod into a marriage that he immediately tries to escape.

Not to be outdone, Mary pursues Bushrod through the wilds of the American West, foiling Indians and fighting for the love of her reluctant bridegroom.

This western is more comedy than action, but 100% enjoyment.  There is also a great chance you will find yourself singing Bushrod’s song about the “Berry Tree” for days and days.

 

*Scenes to watch for: Bushrod’s early attempts at avoiding matrimony

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Rachel and the Stranger – 1948

There is a running theme in my life that I only recently discovered…I love William Holden movies.  To be clear – Mr. Holden is not new to me, I’ve known of him my entire life.  His films aren’t foreign to my eyes, I’ve watched many of them over the years.  What is new, is my realization that several of my all-time-favorite films have a running theme…William Holden (William Beedle to his friends).

My favorite movie of all time stars the handsome Mr. H, but this post is not dedicated to that film (to be announced at a later date), this post is all about Rachel:

Rachel and the Stranger – starring William Holden, Loretta Young, and Robert Mitchum.

An RKO classic from 1948, Rachel and the Stranger alternates between humor, romance, and adventure.  It is, in my opinion, an egregiously overlooked western.

This film, set against the wilderness of colonial America, revolves around Dave Harvey (Holden), his son Davey (Gary Gray), his best friend/sometimes-nemesis Jim Fairways (Mitchum) and the woman who enters their life, Rachel (Young).

Rachel is an indentured servant whom Dave “buys” out of her service contract and then weds as a stand-in for his deceased wife.  Dave is seeking a marriage “in name alone” as a way of providing a mother for his son, but soon begins to see the many virtues in Rachel when his friend Jim makes advances toward her.  Along with the very entertaining love triangle, is the struggle of these characters to establish themselves in a landscape where danger lurks at every turn.

This film is everything that a pioneer film should be.

*Scene to watch for: Any scene involving Robert Mitchum, he is perfect in this role.  Also, you will be singing his “signature” tune for hours upon hearing it.