While watching Beyond the Horizon, I was often gripped by the strong conflicts in individual scenes. Yet, the play came across as less than the sum of the parts.
O’Neill won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920 for this, his first full-length play (what a personal thrill that must have been!). The focus on a low class family — farmers brought to struggle to hold on to the farm — the use of American vernacular, and the laying bare of brutal competition within what seems on the surface a wholesome American farm family must have been electrifying at the time. Without these issues of innovation, today the play has less going for it.