Pleasant low-budget fare about a topic Hollywood never had much time for-- the real problems of family farms. In years past, severe winters across the plains and mountain states often devastated cattle herds that perished from starvation. Trucking hay to the stranded herds often proved impossible, leaving farmers no choice but to absorb the loss.Their plight is dramatized here as a farm family headed by ex-flier Bill Williams faces just such a winter. But then he runs into old airforce pal Tom Brown and one of them gets the grand idea of organizing discharged WWII fliers into a haylift operation. Where trucks can't go, airplanes can. After all, if the Berlin airlift (1948) could feed a city, why not feed a starving herd. Maybe it's not glamorous, but it is resourceful.
The movie benefits greatly from good, gritty location photography. Also, the Williams farm house and family has the look and feel of the unvarnished real thing. I expect the production was motivated by cast members, since journeyman character actor Joe Sawyer is credited as co-writer-- (the other co-writer Dean Riesner has a small part, but would one day become one of tinsel town's highest paid screen-writers). Airlifting hay to freezing bovines is certainly not the sort of material that the studios would have bothered with. Nonetheless, it's a nice period-piece of low-key entertainment that proves once again how Hollywood's talent pool goes far beyond the big names.
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