Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Another of the collaborations between actor James Stewart and director Anthony Mann, Bend of the River casts Stewart as a former outlaw, now working as trail guide for a group of Oregon-bound farmers. He is aided in this endeavor by Arthur Kennedy, a far-from-reformed horse thief. Upon arriving in Portland, Stewart gets in the middle of a scam operated by trader Howard Petrie, who has reneged on his promise to ship goods to the settlers. Unable to take action through legal channels, Stewart and farmer Jay C. Flippen steal the provision and scurry back to the settlement by boat. On their return, they discover that Kennedy has sold out to the crooked Petrie and intends to reclaim the supplies, taking Flippen and his daughter Julie Adams as hostages to ensure safe passage. It's up to Stewart to turn the tables on his former friend and save the day. As in the other Stewart-Mann productions, Jimmy breaks away from his usual easygoing screen persona to play a tough, self-serving rugged individual, whose true motives and loyalties remain in doubt until the very end of the film. Bend of the River was adapted by Borden Chase from Bill Gulick's novel Bend of the Snake. Watch for Stepin Fetchit, Rock Hudson, Royal Dano, and Frances Bavier in minor roles.
guide, gunfighter, farmer, farmer's-daughter, friendship, group, hanging, horse-thief, settler, wagon-train, westward-expansion, gold-rush, hostage