Dazzling photography, an intelligent script, remarkable performances, superb direction and compelling music animate this large-scale Western. An ex-sea captain (Gregory Peck) comes West to marry Carroll Baker and settle down on the ranch of her father (Charles Bickford). A mutual dislike develops between Peck and the ranch foreman (Charlton Heston). Baker shares many of the "macho" sensibilities represented by Heston, which drives Peck away from her and into the arms of a schoolteacher (Jean Simmons)--who happens to own the only water for miles around. Bickford and Burl Ives have been competing for rights to Simmons' water and are willing to use any means to get it. The intertwining tensions between Peck & Heston and Bickford & Ives inevitably will lead to a climactic and violent confrontation.