montgomery clift is a good actor, but this film took a dive as soon as john wayne left and clift took over the majority of the screen time. the ending was strangely saccharine and simple, and the inclusion of the romantic interest was unfortunate. also, there seemed a red herring in john ireland’s character – he was introduced as a gunslinger who was clift’s only match and they refer to the potential for a showdown between the two, but he is later dispatched (rather quickly) by wayne. my favorite moments in the film were those of the crew driving the cattle – the film seemed very accurate in this regard. hawks shows the cattle drive in great detail – from them picking a place along the river to ford to a climactic stampede.
wayne’s character was layered and complex, as was clift’s. brennan offered his usual sidekick/comic relief performance and did a good job with it (again, as usual).