Director: Burt Lancaster
Year Released: 1955
Elias Wakefield (Lancaster, doing double duty) and his young son (Donald MacDonald) have the dream of going to Texas - where, apparently, no one else is living and the air is cleaner - but keep getting involved in misadventures along the way, including buying slave (Dianne Foster) her freedom, trying to sell a freshwater pearl to James Monroe and getting on the wrong side of a whip master (Walter Matthau). As far as Westerns go, this isn't all that bad - it's sweet and wholesome if a little awkwardly put together and a little too leisurely paced. Matthau, in his big screen debut, said he thought his character in this was "ridiculous" ... and he's right, especially if he's referring to that showdown between him and Burt that has them rolling all over the ground like drunken acrobats. Here's a line that wouldn't sail in 2020: "The President wouldn't cheat a man!"