If The Way West does not wholly succeed as drama, it is at least a well-made and wholly professional Hollywood Western. Western fans, myself included, might enjoy it for that alone. Widmark and Mitchum are excellent in roles unusual for them and Douglas, as always, is a seasoned old hand.
The cast - Douglas as a frantically visionary senator, Mitchum as the veteran trail scout, Widmark as the leader of the settlers - is fine, and William Clothier's location photography impressive. But the script meanders badly, even taking time off for a bit of teenage romance involving nymphet Sally Field in her film debut, while McLaglen's direction is simply lacklustre.
Project probably looked good on paper, but washed out in scripting, direction and pacing. Incidents do not build to any climax; excepting the first and last reels, any others could be shown out of order with no apparent discontinuity.