Duel in the Sun
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

Orphaned and half-Indian Pearl Chavez (Jennifer Jones) is taken in by her father's second cousin and ex-lover, Laura Belle McCanles (Lillian Gish). Pearl's presence is the catalyst that pits the two McCanles brothers, Jesse (Joseph Cotten) and Lewt (Gregory Peck), against each other

Duel in the Sun (1944) is a novel by American novelist Niven Busch [1903-1991]. The novel was adapted for the movie by producer David O. Selznick and screenwriters Oliver H.P. Garrett and Ben Hecht.

Most of the movie is set on the Spanish Bit, a million acre cattle ranch in Texas owned by the McCanles family. It is somewhere near the fictitious town of Paradise Flats, the "Paris of the Pecos".

"Oh, threats of hell and hopes of paradise! One thing at least is certain -- this life flies; One thing is certain, and the rest is lies; The flower that once has bloomed forever dies." is a passage from the Rubaiyat, a poem by Persian philosopher, physicist, and poet Omar Khayyam [1048-1131].

When the railroad, backed by the U.S. Army, claimed the right-of-way on Spanish Bit, Jesse stood with the railroad. Consequently, his father, the Senator (Lionel Barrymore), banished him from the ranch.

Jesse returns to Spanish Bit when he hears that Laura Belle is dying, but he's too late. Before he returns to Austin, he asks Pearl to come live with him and Helen (Joan Tetzel). He even offers to send her to a school where she can learn to become a "proper lady". Jesse takes Pearl with him to Paradise Flats where he has some business to finish before they continue on to Austin. The next morning Lewt rides into town, looking for Pearl. When Jesse refuses to send her out, Lewt shoots him. Helen comes to Paradise Flats to be with Jesse and assures Pearl that she also wishes for Pearl to come live with them. When it looks like Jesse is going to survive, Sid (Scott McKay)shows up with a message to Pearl that Lewt will get Jesse the next time and that, if Pearl wants to see him before he jumps across the border into Mexico, she's to meet him at Squaw's Head Rock. Pearl rides out to Squaw's Head on Dice, the pinto given to her by Lewt. When Lewt shows himself, Pearl shoots him. Suddenly, Pearl has a change of heart, but, when she tries to climb up the rock to Lewt, he shoots her. They shoot at each other a few more times, but when Lewt can't shoot anymore and Pearl is seriously wounded, she continues to crawl to him as Lewt cries out his love to her. Pearl finally reaches Lewt, and they share one kiss before Lewt dies. Pearl kisses him once more, then she dies in his arms, bringing full swing to Orson Wells' narration at the beginning of the movie: Deep among the lonely sun-baked hills of Texas, the great and weatherbeaten stone still stands. The Comanches call it 'Squaw's Head Rock.' Time cannot change its impassive face nor dim the legend of the wild young lovers who found heaven, and hell, in the shadows of the rock. For when the sun is low and the cold wind blows across the desert, there are those who still speak of Pearl Chavez, the half-breed girl from down along the border, and of the laughing outlaw with whom she had kept a final rendezvous, never to be seen again. And this is what the legend says:'A flower, known nowhere else, grows from out of the desperate crags where Pearl vanished...Pearl, who was herself a wild flower, sprung from the hard clay, quick to blossom...and early to die."

Jennifer Jones was born in 1919, and Duel in the Sun was released in 1946, making Jones approximately 27 when she played the part of Pearl Chavez. No age was given for Pearl's character. However, repeated references to her as "child" indicates that she was undoubtedly underage, probably in her mid-teens.

Similar to Duel in the Sun, Giant (1956) is set on another Texas cattle ranch and tells the story of the feuds and prejudices that haunt the Benedict family. In (Diamond Head) (1963), the setting is a Hawaiian pineapple plantation where a brother and sister must face their own prejudices and problems.

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