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Saturday, September 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Wagonmaster
Rated
Two itinerant cowpokes sign on as trail bosses for a Mormon wagon train; along the way they encounter hostile townsfolk, proud Navajos, a stranded theatrical troupe and a scabrous family of rustlers and killers whose patriarch, Pa Clegg, winks evilly at the mormon minister and proclaims: "The Lord'll bless you, Reverend, he marks the sparrow's fall!" A "small" film (it later inspired the TV series "Wagon Train", with Ward-Bond secularizing but otherwise repeating his role), this is one of John Ford's greatest Westerns. Its theme: America is a country of outsiders and fugitives who create their own morality in the crucible of prejudice and conflict. Wagonmaster has the simple purity, lucidity, humanity, rough charm and almost painful lyricism of a folk ballad; it is also probably the most beautiful of all the black and white American Westerns.
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