How the West was Won is an epic film, one of the last of its kind to enjoy any sort of notable success in its time. Released in 1962 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it had a truly star-studded cast, from Agnes Moorehead to John Wayne, and practically everyone else in between. It is, in fact, one of only three films to include both Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda, and they don't even appear on-screen together. The film is an anthology telling the story of four generations of the Prescott family, broken up into five chapters with a prologue and an epilogue, with the first chapter depicting the journey west, starting in 1839, and ending in 1889 San Francisco, contrasted sharply with the “modern” San Francisco of the 1960’s at the end.
A standout feature of the film is its soundtrack, which is considered one of the best scores ever to complement a movie of the twentieth century – it was 25th in the ranking. Alfred Newman composed the score, and if his name is unfamiliar his music certainly isn’t to anyone who has watched a classic film. He composed scores for over two hundred movies, was nominated for a mind-blowing forty-three Academy Awards, and won nine times.