Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

As Westerns go, the movie was a good adventure story without being great. Perhaps the main attraction was that it was Marilyn Monroe's only real Western in her collection of movies.

We must discount "Ticket To Tomahawk" in which she had a very minor role and "The Misfits," although set in today's West not a legitimate entry in the Western genre.

"River of No Return" is noteworthy on several counts. Besides being Marilyn's only Western, it was also director Otto Preminger's only foray into making a Western.

The producer actually wanted William Wellman, Raoul Walsh or Henry King to direct (all of whom had experience directing Westerns). However, Preminger had a contract with 20th Century Fox and was intrigued by the screenplay and the casting of Monroe opposite Robert Mitchum.

Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck decided the motion picture would be made in CinemaScope and filmed in Banff and Jasper National Parks and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

The setting of the movie is in the northwestern United States in 1875 with the "River of No Return" (the Salmon River south of Lewiston, Idaho) as a character in its own right. At that point the Salmon drops more than 7,000 feet in elevation from its headwaters to its confluence with the Snake River on its way to the Columbia.

The Salmon is unique in that it is the only major river in the United States entirely contained within one state.

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