An all-star cast! From the Gold Rush to the Civil War to the building of the railroad, follow four generations of the Prescott family in their trek west to seek their fortunes.


How the West Was Won

An all-star cast! John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, Henry Fonda, Karl Malden and many other Hollywood icons pay homage to the indomitable American spirit in this classic, epic saga of the Wild West.

The trials and joys of the Prescotts and their descendants are beautifully and movingly filmed in five segments.

The Rivers – 1839

Zebulon Prescott, his wife, Rebecca and grown daughters, Eve and Lilith embark on the perilous journey west, heading toward the Illinois territory, on the Erie Canal aboard a raft. Along the way, they meet mountain man and fur trader, Linus Rawlings. He and Eve can’t deny their attraction, but Rawlings is still a wanderer at heart, and he goes his own way. Roiling rivers and wild animals aside, the family is about to encounter one of the most dangerous wilderness threats—a band of river thieves who are out to rob them of all their possessions and would have no reservations about taking their lives, as well. Will Linus return in time to save them, and open his heart to settling down with Eve?

The Plains – 1851

Lilith decides she doesn’t have the tenacity needed to brave the frontier, so she leaves her family to make her way to St. Louis, where she takes a job singing at a dance hall. There she meets suave professional gambler, Cleve Van Valen. Lilith has learned that she inherited a gold mine and plans to head west to claim her riches. Though Cleve is attracted to Lilith, he’s not the marrying type. But when he hears of her good fortune, the prospect of walking down the aisle becomes a little more palatable, especially since a trip out west with the lovely songbird would keep him out of the clutches of a man to whom he owes substantial gambling debts. On the wagon train, headed for California, Lilith befriends Agatha Clegg, and adds another potential suitor to her list of admirers—rugged wagon master Robert Morgan, but she has no interest in his advances, much to the dismay of Agatha. Then the wagon train is attacked by Cheyenne Indians, and the survivors struggle to put their lives and dreams back in order. Now closer to her destination, will Lilith finally put down roots and accept Robert? Or will Cleve realize “commitment” is not a dirty word, and find his way back to Lilith?

The Civil War – 1861–1865

The American War Between the States rips the developing country apart. In some cases families turn on each other, fighting for opposite sides. The Rawlings family men, however, share the same views, and the fervor grows strong among them. Now settled Linus, Eve and their children are making a decent living, though hard-won, farming the land.

Linus and Eve are happy with their rural existence, but son, Zeb is restless. He doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps, a lifetime tilling soil, planting crops and praying for a good harvest. He wants more out of life. He just wants to leave. So when Linus joins the Union Army as a Captain, Zeb jumps on the opportunity to enlist, too, in spite of his mother’s objections.

If Zeb had any idealistic notions about war, they were quickly dashed away as the horrors of battle became his reality. He is depressed and distraught when he meets a Confederate soldier who is equally disillusioned. They become friends and decide to desert. But then, while on the run, a chance encounter will force Zeb to make a heart-wrenching decision.

The Railroad – 1868

The country is changing rapidly. Two competing railroad companies start construction from opposite ends of the land, and settlers are eager for this easy way to travel.

Now a lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry, Zeb Rawlings is in charge of maintaining peace with the Indians. He gets help from Jethro Stuart, a rough-around-the-edges buffalo hunter who was an old friend of Zeb’s father, Linus.

The railroad is to cross the nation, but builders agree to not lay tracks on Indian Territory. Not all builders take the treaties seriously. Mike King is a ruthless railroad man, who will do anything to advance his own goals and line his own pockets. He has no regard for the Indians or their agreements with the government. He builds on Indian land, and soon feels the wrath of the irate Arapaho tribe. Even Zeb and Jethro can’t prevent their retaliation. Devastated, Zeb must make a choice, one that will determine his destiny.

The Outlaws – 1889

Now a widow living in San Francisco, Lilith is once again deep in debt. She and Cleve have made and lost many fortunes in the course of their lives together. She has one asset left: a ranch, so she seeks out her nephew, Zeb to oversee its maintenance.

Zeb has settled in Arizona with his wife Julie and their children. He is now a Marshal and doing well. When he goes to the train station to pick up Lilith, he spots an old enemy, Charlie Gant, an outlaw, whose brother was killed in a gunfight by Zeb. Gant threatens Zeb and his family. Knowing Gant will make good on his threats, whether now or in the future, Zeb tries to take him down, going through legal channels, but Gant is not wanted in Arizona, so Zeb’s hands are tied.

Not wanting to take chances with his family’s lives, Zeb decides he must take matters into his own hands. He suspects Gant is planning to rob a substantial shipment of gold that is to be transported by rail. With the reluctant help of fellow Marshal and friend, Lou Ramsey, Zeb organizes a band of lawmen to ambush Gant and his gang, in what surely will be a life or death battle.