In this CinemaScope western adventure, Robert Mitchum is ex-con farmer Matt Calder, who lives with his young son in a remote riverside area. Gambler Harry (Rory Calhoun) and his fiancée Kay (Marilyn Monroe), a former saloon singer, are stranded while en route to collect on a mining claim, and Matt takes them in. When Harry tests the limits of Matt’s hospitality, he makes off with his horse and rifle, leaving Kay behind. Susceptible to the threat of hostile Indians, Matt, his son, and Kay make off down the river in Harry’s abandoned raft, but the river itself proves to be just as perilous… Monroe and Preminger had a famously rocky on-set rapport (prompting Preminger to buy out his own contract from Fox), but Mitchum’s effortless subtlety beautifully balances Monroe’s broad strokes.
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