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The Big Land (1957)

Alan Ladd stars as a Kansas cattle rancher battling the elements and corrupt cattle buyers to build a railroad spur to the Rio Grande just after the United States' Civil War.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Chad Morgan
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Helen Jagger
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Joe Jagger
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Brog
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Kate Johnson
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Sven Johnson
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Tom Draper
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David Johnson
Jack Wrather Jr. ...
Olaf Johnson
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Dawson
...
Bob Cole
...
Billy Tyler
Charles Watts ...
Dick McCullough
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Storyline

After the Civil War, bitterness remained between Southerners and Northerners. In order to supply eastern cities with beef, former Confederates from Texas drove their herds to the rail-heads in Missouri. After a long and hard cattle drive through the Bad Lands, former Confederate officer Chad Morgan and his partners arrive at a rail-head in Missouri where corrupt cattle buyer Brog and his gunfighter partner offer to purchase the Texans' herds for a pitiful sum. Brog knows the cattle are weakened by the long drive from Texas and cannot survive a return drive to Texas. He also knows the Texans are desperate to sell for any amount of money they can settle for. After selling their herds to crooked buyer Brog, the Texans blame their partner Chad Morgan for their misfortune. It was Chad who suggested they sell their herds in Missouri. Heartbroken, Chad splits with his partners. On a rainy night, Chad is refused lodging by embittered Northerners who still see him as a Confederate enemy. He ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The big land was the big gamble ... They staked their gold, their women, and their lives !

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1957 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Buffalo Grass  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Julie Bishop. See more »

Quotes

Sven Johnson: Oh, you boys can sleep as late as you like in the morning... so long as you get up for breakfast. Five o'clock.
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Connections

Referenced in Stage Struck (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

I LEANED ON A MAN
Written by Leonard Rosenman and Wayne Shanklin
Sung by Bonnie Lou Williams (uncredited) dubbing for Virginia Mayo
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Familiar but very well done.
18 June 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

When Alan Ladd and his partners bring their cattle from Texas to Missouri, local cattle buyer Anthony Caruso cheats the men and treats them like he's doing them a favor in the process! Ladd, however, doesn't fight--having a live and let live attitude.

Ladd travels to a nearby town and is treated pretty poorly by the locals since he's a Southerner and the Civil War just ended. However, he stumbles into a relationship with Edmond O'Brien--an alcoholic who has a long history of screwing up his life. Ladd is able to help this new friend find a sense of direction and clean up his life, as they both hit on a scheme to build a town in Kansas that will make cattle drives closer AND they won't need to deal with Caruso. Of course, Caruso made it a habit of playing evil jerks in Westerns during the 50s, so it's pretty certain that he won't just sit back and watch as this new cattle town is created. And when he does behave in a naughty fashion, guess who's the guy to bring justice to this new town?

The film is helped by two excellent leads--Ladd and O'Brien. While story elements are often quite familiar here (the tough boss, the hero that is slow to act, John Qualen with his Swede routine, etc.), the film is handled well and is enjoyable throughout.

It's interesting that in this film O'Brien plays an alcoholic (a pretty familiar role for him actually, as he played this type character in several films) but in reality Alan Ladd was destroying himself with alcohol. He looks pretty lean in the film, but in subsequent films he became puffy and sometimes slurred his lines. It's really sad to see when you are a fan--fortunately, there isn't much evidence of this decline in THE BIG LAND.


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