RIVER OF NO RETURN-an excellent Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe Old West Hollywood Western

This one Western Movie is the one I consider the BEST of Western Movies done in 1954. I put it in the Top Ten of all Westerns done. I still remember seeing it at the Drive in over 60 years ago. And I Love it Today as much as I did back long ago. And it’s on STARZ right now. So if you’ve never seen it, please purchase the DVD or watch it wherever you can find it. I disagree with the Critical Movie Critics who attacked Monroe for being too Pretty and attacked the Storyline. Blow that off. The Storyline is one of the Best and gives Hope to all of us who’ve ever strayed away from the right path. Can a Saloon Lady find redemption? Can a Killer ever find Redemption? And the very dangerous trip on a wooden raft on the River of No Return.


With lots of rapids in the River and other known and hidden dangers. They come close to losing the Raft one time where it almost flipped over. I’m very pressed at how well Marilyn Monroe sang her Songs. She does an excellent job of Singing and Acting. Robert Mitchum is rough and tough as they come. And he does a great Job. And Rory Calhoun does an excellent Job of playing the Villain Gambler. I rate this Movie a 5-STAR.

Also, you will see one of the Best examples of Sexual Assault as you’ll ever see. She encourages him and Then puts Cold Water on that when he tries to get next to her. You’ll just have to watch it. Then they are headed in the end to becoming a real family. Today, 97% of Viewers Liked this Movie.

After serving a prison sentence, farmer Matt Calder (Robert Mitchum) returns to his 19th-century Pacific Northwest gold rush town and retrieves his adolescent son, Mark (Tommy Rettig). Meanwhile, goodhearted barroom singer Kay (Marilyn Monroe) is heading downriver with her boyfriend, Harry (Rory Calhoun), to explore a potential gold claim. When their raft sinks, Harry robs Matt of his gun and horse to continue without Kay on land. Sailing downriver toward the claim, the trio plan their revenge.


Plot(Long Version)-

Set in the Northwestern United States in 1875, the film focuses on taciturn widower Matt Calder (Robert Mitchum), who has recently been released from prison after serving time for killing one man while defending another. He arrives in a boomtown tent city in search of his nine-year-old son Mark (Tommy Rettig), who was left in the care of dance hall singer Kay (Marilyn Monroe) after the man who brought him there, as Matt had arranged, abandoned him. Matt promises Mark, a virtual stranger to him, the two will enjoy a life of hunting, fishing and farming on their homestead.Robert Mitchum with Tommy Rettig in a scene from the film

Kay’s fiance, gambler Harry Weston (Rory Calhoun), tells her they must go to Council City to file the deed on a gold mine he won in a poker game. They head downriver on a log raft, and when they encounter trouble in the rapids near the Calder farm, Matt and Mark rescue them. Harry offers to buy Matt’s rifle and horse so as to reach Council City by land. When Matt refuses, Harry knocks Matt unconscious and steals both horse and rifle. Kay chooses to stay behind to take care of Matt and Mark, and the three are stranded in the wilderness.

When hostile Indians attack the farm, the three are forced to escape down the river on Harry’s raft. That night they set up camp by the river, and Matt and Kay argue about the wisdom of pursuing Harry. Matt asks why Kay would choose to marry a man who had endangered a child, whereupon she reminds him that Harry never killed a man like Matt did. Mark overhears their discussion, and Matt is forced to reveal the truth about his past to his son, who is unable to comprehend why his father acted as he did.

As the three continue their journey, Kay comes to appreciate Matt’s bravery and the tender way he cares for both her and Mark. Along the way, they are forced to deal with a series of trials and tribulations, including a mountain lion attack; gold prospectors Sam Benson and Dave Colby, who are after Harry for stealing their claim; and a second Indian war party.

After a difficult ride through the worst of the rapids, the three arrive in Council City and confront Harry. Harry shoots at Matt, prompting Mark to shoot Harry in the back, using a rifle that he was inspecting in the general store. As a result, Mark comes to understand why his father had to shoot a man in a similar fashion so many years before.

Afterwards, Kay finds a job at the local saloon. While she is singing there, Matt walks into the saloon and throws Kay over his shoulder to take her back to his farm along with Mark. She happily leaves with him. The final scene is Kay throwing her high heeled showgirl shoes from their buckboard into the street, a renunciation of her old life.

River of No Return is a 1954 American Western film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. The screenplay by Frank Fenton is based on a story by Louis Lantz, who borrowed his premise from the 1948 Italian film Bicycle Thieves.[4] The picture was shot on location in the Canadian Rockies in Technicolor and CinemaScope and released by 20th Century Fox.

River of No Return
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOtto Preminger
Written byFrank Fenton
Story byLouis Lantz
Produced byStanley Rubin
StarringRobert Mitchum
Marilyn Monroe
Tommy Rettig
Rory Calhoun
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle
Edited byLouis R. Loeffler
Music byCyril J. Mockridge
Color processTechnicolor
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.[1]
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dateApril 30, 1954
Running time91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,800,000[3]

The cast and crew departed for Calgary in late June 1953. From there they traveled by special train to the Banff Springs Hotel, which would serve as their base during the Canadian filming.[7]

Monroe was accompanied by Natasha Lytess, her acting coach. Preminger clashed with the woman from the very start. She insisted on taking her client aside and giving her direction contrary to that of Preminger, and she had the actress enunciating each syllable of every word of dialogue with exaggerated emphasis.[8] Preminger called Rubin in Los Angeles and insisted Lytess be banned from the set, but when the producer complied with his demand, Monroe called Zanuck directly and asserted she couldn’t continue unless Lytess returned. Zanuck commiserated with Preminger but, feeling Monroe was a major box office draw he couldn’t afford to upset, he reinstated Lytess. Angered by the decision, Preminger directed his rage at Monroe for the rest of the production.[9][10]

During the difficult shoot, Preminger also had to contend with frequent rain, Mitchum’s heavy drinking, and an injury to Monroe’s ankle that kept her off the set for several days and ultimately put her in a cast.[11] Monroe nearly drowned while filming. She had donned chest-high hip waders during rehearsal to protect her costume. She slipped on a rock, the waders filled with water, and she was unable to rise. Mitchum and others jumped in the river to rescue her but her ankle was sprained as a result.[12] Young Tommy Rettig seemed to be the director’s sole source of solace. He respected Rettig’s professionalism and appreciated the rapport he developed with Monroe, which often helped keep her on an even keel. When Lytess began to interfere with Rettig’s performance, thereby undermining his confidence, Preminger let the cast and crew know about her behavior and was delighted to find they finally began to support him in his efforts to remove her from the set.[9][13]

In early September, filming shifted to Los Angeles for interior scenes and close-ups for a river sequence. The latter was filmed in a tank, whereas stunt doubles were used in the long shots filmed on location in Idaho in the actual River of No Return, the Salmon River. Monroe was on crutches, and Preminger had to work around her as much as possible. Despite frequent disagreements with Rubin, Preminger completed the film on September 29, on schedule and within the budget.[9]

The film was one of the first films to use a blood squib to simulate realistic bullet impact. This occurs when Harry (Rory Calhoun) is shot dead in the film’s climax. As such, the film beats Run of the Arrow (1957) – which is often credited with being the first to use blood squibs – by three years.

This movie was the first to be filmed in CinemaScope in CanadaRiver of No Return was the first film released by 20th Century-Fox to feature the “CinemaScope extension” fanfare before the opening credits. Written by Alfred Newman, it’s a rerecording of his original 1933 fanfare, with the extra few bars that play under the credit “20th Century-Fox presents A CinemaScope Production”. After Fox switched to Panavision in 1967, they went back to their old fanfare, so the extension fanfare wasn’t used again until it was revived by George Lucas to play before the opening credits to Star Wars. This time, those few extra bars played under the credit ” A Lucasfilm Production”. Since then it’s been re-recorded a few times but remains to this day the intro to every film released by that studio.