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The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Western  |  18 July 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,174 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 12 critic

A mysterious stranger arrives in the Missouri hills and befriends a young backwoods girl. Much to the dislike of her moonshiner fiancé who has vowed to find and kill his own father.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Field ...
James Barton ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Granny Becky
Wash Gibbs
Pete Matthews
Coot Royal
Fuzzy Knight ...
Mr. Palestrom
Tom Fadden ...
Jim Lane
Olin Howland ...
Virita Campbell ...


Young Matt Masters, an Ozark Mountains moonshiner, hates the father he has never seen, who apparently deserted Matt's mother and left her to die. His obsession contributes to the hatred rampant in the mountains. However, the arrival of a stranger, Daniel Howitt, begins to positively affect the mountain people, who learn to shed their hatred under his gentle influence. Still, Matt does not quite trust Howitt..... Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fury in the wild Ozarks! Hatred unleashed on the "Trail of the Lonsome Pine"!


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 July 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destino de sangre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Wayne's first film in Technicolor. See more »


When Old Mat goes into the house at Moaning Meadow and opens the window there are papers (probably sheet music) on the piano. When the camera angle changes the papers are gone. See more »


Young Matt: The bigger the man, the deeper the imprint. And when he's in love, he suffers knowing it's a dead end.
See more »


Remade as The Shepherd of the Hills (1960) See more »


There's a Happy Hunting Ground
Written by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

A lyric piece of film making.
13 August 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is John Wayne's first color film and my only complaint is that the cinematographer failed to pick up the unique almost purple color of his eyes!

Taken from a much-loved novel of the time, The Shepard of the Hills tells a simple story exceptionally well.

An older man appears at a cabin door and gives aid without a question as to how the accident happened. He saves a child. He wants to purchase a piece of property and settle down.

The mountain people of the Ozark region do not welcome strangers, yet this man seems to fit in with his quiet ways and his vast knowledge of the outside world most of the mountain people have never seen.

Harry Carey is this quiet man. He is splendid in every scene. John Wayne plays 'Young Matt Matthews'a young man still mourning his mother and who has sworn a blood oath to kill the man responsible, his father.

Betty Field is marvelous as 'Young Matt's' girlfriend. Harry Carey thoughtful and quietly charming at 'Mr. Howard', the Shepard of the Hills, as his new neighbors call him. Beula Bondi is fascinating as 'Aunt Molly' and Margery Main shines as the blind woman that 'Mr. Howard' sends to the city to have her sight restored.

Many of the scenes are extraordinary for their detail and sense of authenticity.

Some are incredibly beautiful. For example, when 'Mr. Howard' meets the young man who was struck by lightning and can no longer speak.

A thoroughly absorbing and skillfully made film well worth watching again and again.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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