After making his name with Val Lewton’s horror unit at RKO, director Jacques Tourneur moved up to more prestigious projects with this 1946 Technicolor western, produced by Walter Wanger for Universal. Set in the 1850s, the dense story centers on romantic intrigue involving a businessman (Dana Andrews) who escorts his friend’s fiancee (Susan Hayward) out to the wilds of Oregon to meet her groom, a compulsive gambler (Brian Donlevy). Like the characters in Tourneur’s Out of the Past (1947), people here are given to challenging philosophical statements: one settler defines a friend as “any man who believes, as I do, that the human race is a horrible mistake.” Despite the strong leads, the movie’s real romantic core is an extended scene in which neighbors comes from miles around to fell trees and build the new couple a home; Tourneur’s fine feeling for rural community would flower again in Stars in My Crown (1950). With Ward Bond, Fay Holden, Lloyd Bridges, and Andy Devine, and Hoagy Carmichael singing “Ol’ Buttermilk Sky.”