The Far Horizons
The Far Horizons is a 1955 American western film directed by Rudolph Maté, starring Fred MacMurray, Charlton Heston, Donna Reed and Barbara Hale. It is about the expedition led by Lewis and Clark, which is sent to survey the territory that the United States has just acquired in the Louisiana Purchase from France. They are able to overcome the dangers they encounter along the way with the help of a Shoshone woman named Sacagawea. This is currently the only major American motion picture on the Lewis and Clark expedition (although there have been television documentaries on the subject). Many details are fictional, and the minor scene where the group reaches the Pacific Ocean reflects the low budget of the film.
|The Far Horizons|
|Directed by||Rudolph Maté|
|Produced by||William H. Pine|
|Written by||Della Gould Emmons (novel)|
|Music by||Hans J. Salter|
|Cinematography||Daniel L. Fapp|
|Edited by||Frank Bracht|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$1.6 million (US)|
An ambitious, historic attempt to explore and document an untamed American frontier unfolds in this rousing adventure drama. In 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with President Thomas Jefferson's blessing, embarked on the government-sponsored Lewis & Clark Expedition – an attempt to discover a water route connecting St. Louis, Missouri, with the Pacific Ocean. After meeting the Shoshone woman Sacagawea in what has since become the state of North Dakota (but which was at the time unexplored territory) their trek takes them through the magnificent, danger-filled territory of the Pacific Northwest, with guidance from Sacagawea.
As appearing in screen credits (main roles identified):
- Fred MacMurray as Captain Meriwether Lewis
- Charlton Heston as Lt. William Clark
- Donna Reed as Sacagawea
- Barbara Hale as Julia Hancock
- William Demarest as Sgt. Gass
- Alan Reed as Charbonneau
- Eduardo Noriega as Cameahwait
- Larry Pennell as Wild Eagle
- Julia Montoya as Crow woman
- Ralph Moody as Le Borgne
- Herbert Heyes as President Thomas Jefferson
- Lester Matthews as Mr. Hancock
- Helen Wallace as Mrs. Marsha Hancock
- Walter Reed as Cruzatte (helmsman)
The film was known during production as The Blue Horizon.
In 2011, Time Magazine rated The Far Horizons as one of the top ten most historically misleading films, in part due to its casting of caucasian Donna Reed as Shoshone Sacagawea, and the creation of a romantic subplot between her character and William Clark despite the fact that Sacagawea's husband, French-Canadian trader Toussaint Charbonneau, was in real life also a member of the expedition.