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How The West Was Won Season 2 DVD Review

How The West Was Won Season 2 DVD

“How the West Was Won” is a solid western TV series.

In the 14 chapter/episode second season of “How the West Was Won,” the story of the Macahan family (Zed, Luke, Laura, Josh, and Jessie) in a post Civil War era continues. Among the stories viewers can expect to see are: Kate’s sister Molly staying with the Macahan family, clashes between Russians and the Sioux tribe, religious persecution, Laura falling for a Mormon man named Jeremiah, Jessie fighting for her life after numerous bee stings, ex-Confederate bandits, a cattle drive, Luke being jailed and put on trial, gold, Zeb encountering a past love, Jessie getting lost in the desert, and Josh landing in hot water. There’s more going on than just this, but I’m not going to spoil everything.

Based on the 1962 film of the same name, “How the West Was Won” is an ambitious, sprawling 70’s western television series that boasts some impressive production values and location shooting. While not on the level of say “Gunsmoke” or “The Rifleman,” this show has a lot on its mind as it delves into ongoing story arcs about post Civil War life, Indian culture, settler life, family, and criminal justice. Of course, it’s not all dramatic material here as there are the expected shootouts and action set pieces that western fans are accustomed to.

As entertaining as the series can be, it does have its fair share of flaws. Like many TV shows from the 70’s, it does suffer from dated melodrama, instant romance storylines, stiff characters, nauseating stereotypes, and some bad accents.

On the subject of the accents, there is some decidedly strange casting here such with Christopher Lee guest starring as a Russian character and Ricardo Montalban guesting as an Indian character. Thankfully, those miscast roles are generally overshadowed by a solid cast (and supporting cast) comprised of Tim Matheson, Fionnula Flanagan, Lloyd Bridges, William Shatner, Slim Pickens, a young Bruce Boxleitner, and James Arness (the rightful star of the series as Zeb Macahan).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? For the first 2 parts and part 10, the colors look surprisingly sharp. However, there’s a serious decline in quality for the other 11 parts as they contain dirt specs and faded colors.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital Mono. How does it sound? A bit flat, but it does the job.

No extras have been included.

Overall Thoughts: Compared to a lot of 70’s TV series, “How the West Was Won” is a better than average series. While westerns may not be for everyone, there’s no question that western fans will flock to this series.

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July 13, 2014 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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