Colorful and vivid, Canyon Passage is crammed full of plots and subplots. It starts out looking like a family movie about pioneers in Oregon, but develops into a complex story with several key characters, the most important being Logan Stewart (Dana Andrews) a mule train outfitter whose business partner is compulsive gambler George Camrose (Brian Donlevy). Set mostly in a mining town, with settlers clearing the adjacent land for farms and wary native Americans watching their territory disappearing, it is a story that weaves together hit rich quick miners, gambling, pioneering, and a significant romance that brews between Camrose's girl Lucy Overmire (Susan Hayward) and Stewart, with Camrose piling on gambling debts and pilfering the till to pay them off. The precarious peace with the Indians is strained by the building of more and more cabins, and when it finally breaks there is a series of ruthless attacks on the settlers that are uncommonly brutal for a film made in 1946. With Ward Bond as mean and sadistic Honey Bragg, and Lloyd Bridges as gambling miner Johnny Steele, and Hoagy Carmichael as minstrel/philosopher Hi Linnet, this rather unknown western by Jacques Tournier, known more for Out of the Past and Cat People is a real departure from the Wayne/Ford/Hawks pictures of this era.