Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame McKay (Gregory Peck) arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill (Carroll Baker). McKay is a man whose values & approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers & ranch foreman Steve Leech (Charlton
The horses gallop, the wheels turn and Jerome Moross classic music kicks in, the best Western theme ever (yes, better than The Magnificent Seven and The Good The Bad And The Ugly), as big and sprawling as the country it depicts and the film it signifies. Gregory Peck is at his best as the moralistic former seaman, taken to dry land and finding himself caught up in a water rights battle between feuding cattle barons. Charlton Heston gets to play a bit of a rough, while Burl Ives, in Oscar-winning form, chews up every bit of scenery he can sink his teeth into. This is a Western soap opera, basically, but a high class soap that builds to a rewarding punch-out between Peck and Heston.
Epic, heartbreaking cowboy story.