IMDb > The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
The Shepherd of the Hills
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The Shepherd of the Hills (1941) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Harold Bell Wright (novel)
Grover Jones (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Shepherd of the Hills on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 July 1941 (USA) See more »
Fury in the wild Ozarks! Hatred unleashed on the "Trail of the Lonsome Pine"!
John Wayne plays young Matt Matthews not Masters. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
John Wayne's First Technicolor Film See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... Young Matt Matthews
Betty Field ... Sammy Lane

Harry Carey ... Daniel Howitt

Beulah Bondi ... Aunt Mollie Matthews
James Barton ... Old Matt Matthews
Samuel S. Hinds ... Andy Beeler
Marjorie Main ... Granny Becky

Ward Bond ... Wash Gibbs

Marc Lawrence ... Pete Matthews

John Qualen ... Coot Royal
Fuzzy Knight ... Mr. Palestrom
Tom Fadden ... Jim Lane
Olin Howland ... Corky

Dorothy Adams ... Elvy
Virita Campbell ... Baby
Fern Emmett ... Mrs. Palestrom
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
C.E. Anderson ... Hillbilly (uncredited)
Hank Bell ... Man with Mustache (uncredited)

Henry Brandon ... Bald Knobber (uncredited)
Jim Corey ... Bald Knobber (uncredited)
William Haade ... Bald Knobber (uncredited)
John Harmon ... Charles the Deputy (uncredited)
Selmer Jackson ... Doctor (uncredited)
Carl Knowles ... Revenuer (uncredited)
Bob Kortman ... Bald Knobber (uncredited)
Ann Kunde ... Mrs. Carmody - Townswoman (uncredited)

Charles Middleton ... Blacksmith (uncredited)
Glen Walters ... Townswoman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Henry Hathaway 
Writing credits
Harold Bell Wright (novel)

Grover Jones (screenplay) and
Stuart Anthony (screenplay)

Produced by
Jack Moss .... producer
Original Music by
Gerard Carbonara 
Cinematography by
W. Howard Greene (director of photography)
Charles Lang (director of photography) (as Charles Lang Jr.)
Film Editing by
Ellsworth Hoagland 
Art Direction by
Roland Anderson 
Hans Dreier 
Art Department
Henri Jaffa .... for the Technicolor company: associate color art director
Natalie Kalmus .... for the Technicolor company: color art director
Sound Department
John Cope .... sound recordist
Harold Lewis .... sound recordist
Music Department
Charles Bradshaw .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
98 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (2005) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #6693)

Did You Know?

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): With both shootings later in the film there is absolutely no trace of blood. This is particularly surprising in the first case which is at point-blank range.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 »
Movie Connections:
WiegenliedSee more »


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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
John Wayne's First Technicolor Film, 1 June 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS was made into a silent film in 1919. Harold Bell Wright, the author of the story, was a popular novelist of the day, and a number of his stories were turned into films. He usually concentrated on stories regarding people who lived in mountainous regions (one hesitates to call them hillbillies as they are usually shown to be non-stereotypes). As was mentioned in another of the comments here, Wright also wrote the story that was the basis for the Henry Fonda / Fred MacMurray film THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE.

John Wayne is not the central figure of this film, although considered the star nowadays. In reality this film should be considered one of the best in the career of Harry Carey Sr. A leading movie cowboy actor in the silent period and early sound years, Carey had slowly moved into character parts after 1933. Possibly his best recalled non-western role is the Vice President of the United States in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. As a Western star, he proved to be Wayne's own model of the perfect western film actor. In fact, in the shooting of John Ford's THE SEARCHERS, Wayne purposely honored Carey by copying a mannerism he had (holding his arm with his hand in a particular position) in Wayne's last visible moment in that film.

In the movie Wayne is a member of a family centered around James Barton and Beulah Bondi (Wayne's blood aunt), and his cousin Marc Lawrence. Bondi has never forgiven Wayne's father for abandoning the family, and indirectly causing the death of her sister. She has instilled in Wayne a hatred of the father. At the same time, the death of the sister is tied to the other tragedy of the family - that Lawrence is a mute. He has been unable to speak since he survived the fire that killed his aunt (Wayne' mother). The only one who occasionally stands up against Bondi's vicious hatred is Barton, but he admits in his best scene in the film that he really lacks the nerve to openly condemn her behavior.

This is a great film for character actors. Besides Barton, Bondi, and Lawrence, please take note of Marjorie Main in one of her most prescient performances. She is blind, and she requires expensive surgery to have a chance for the restoration of her sight. At a critical moment Carey will lend her the money for that surgery. When her eyesight is restored everyone in the community rejoices, until Main recognizes somebody in the crowd she did not expect to ever see again. Her comment when she reveals this person's identity, and realizes the tragedy she may have unwittingly caused, is devastating in it's simplicity and ironic truth.

Carey is a newly arrived rancher in the area, who (as witness his assistance to Main) gets involved trying to do good for his neighbors. And all usually benefit. Yet he too has his secrets, and they nearly rip him and several others apart.

THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS is a movie about redemption and forgiveness, and it's cast shows the difficulties faced by common people when presented with these seemingly simple acts of behavior. All of the stars of the movie gave first rate performances in it, and for Wayne it was the first big follow-up to his overnight success in STAGECOACH. But the best performance remains Carey's, who in the end has to commit an act of violence in order to try to save his last chance for acceptance from those who count the most.

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