According to Allmovie, critics consistently rate this as one of the worst movies made by Disney. The staff of Halliwell's Film Guide called it "tedious and unconvincing".
One of the replica boats used on the film, the Emma Dean, was recovered by local raconteur, Stan A. Jones, in 1969 from the Golden Oak Ranch, a Disney movie lot in Placerita Canyon, Newhall, Santa Clarita, California. The boat is on display at the Powell Museum in Page, Arizona.
By 1960 Walt Disney had already made a handful of Western's based on popular historical figures and novels and most of them had been very successful. It must have made perfect business sense to invest in more and this time Walt chose the journals of John Wesley Powel, the first man to travel down the Colorado River, as his source material. Unfortunately, the final result didn't reflect the spirit or financial success of his previous efforts. Walt hired William Beaudine to direct. He had worked for Disney several times before, directing episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club, Spin & Marty and one of Walt's previous Western films Westward Ho, the Wagons. John Beal, who had previously work for Disney as the voice of adult Jeremiah in So Dear to My Heart, was cast in the lead role as John Powel. Brian Keith (The Parent Trap) made his Disney debut in this film. David Stollery, famous amongst youngsters as Marty from Spin & Marty, was cast in his final film for Disney before stepping out of the Hollywood spotlight. Much of the film was shot on location in Utah, with some scenes obviously shot in a studio. Ten Who Dared was produced by James Algar, famous for his True-Life Adventures film series. While there are hardly any animals in the film, he most likely lent his expertise to the on location shooting.
A group of ten men, lead by Army Sergent John Wesley Powel, are attempting to travel down the Colorado River in search of gold. All of the men come from diverse backgrounds and are separated into boats. From the moment their journey begins, none of the men get along. More chaos ensues as they lose boats and encounter other challenges, such as a member of the party getting sick. The film ends with an epilogue about what happened to the men after they made it to the end of the river.
- Brian Keith - William Dunn
John Beal - Major John Wesley Powell
James Drury - Walter Powell
R. G. Armstrong - Oramel Howland
Ben Johnson - George Bradley
L.Q. Jones - Billy Hawkins
Dan Sheridan - Jack Sumner
David Stollery - Andrew Hall
Stan Jones - Seneca Howland
David Frankham - Frank Goodman
Pat Hogan - Indian Chief
Ray Walker - McSpadden
Jack Bighead - Ashtishkel
Roy Barcroft - Jim Baker
Down Little Sky - Indian Woman
Ten Who Dared was released on DVD as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive in 2009. The DVD presents the film in fullscreen, most likely open matte versus pan and scan. The film was most likely released in matted widescreen, however we are lucky that Disney released it on DVD in the first place as it is sure to not be a top seller. The transfer appears to be the same one used on the VHS release in the 1980's and there are no bonus features.