How the West Was Won: The Complete Second Season DVD Review

     Actors: James Arness, Fionnula Flanagan, Bruce Boxleitner, Kathryn Holcomb, William Kirby Cullen
  • Director: Vincent McEveety
  • Producers: John Mantley, John Stephens
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2014


            Although we have grown accustomed to television series with narratives more fitting a theatrical story, complete with a bevy of new shows taken directly from successful films (“About a Boy,” “Fargo”), this is a practice which has been around for quite some time. Before “How the West Was Won” the TV-series in the late 1970s, there was a successful and extremely cinematic film version in 1962 starring James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, and Henry Fonda, among others. The TV-show may not have the extreme widescreen or the star power, but it allowed the story to be stretched out with even more wonderful detail.


            I suppose this is technically a mini-series, since it had a clear end in sight, but it is far from short. This is only half of the show, but it still has fourteen episodes on six discs. James Arness heads up the cast as the head of the Macahan family, Zeb. Living in the Colorado wilderness, the Macahans find themselves caught in a frontier war between the Sioux tribe and the U.S. army. Throw in vengeful lawmen hunting down one of the Macahan’s sons, a group of dangerous ex-Confederate soldiers, and a variety of other unknown dangers, and you have an idea of the difficulties this family faces in the Wild West. They are joined this season by their Irish aunt, Molly Culhane (played by Emmy-winner Fionnula Flanagan).


            All fourteen parts of the second set are included on six discs, with an average of three of the lengthy episodes fit onto each disc. There are no special features.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance:  8/10

    Special Features: 0/10

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