Home from the Hill (1960)
Captain Wade Hunnicutt is the wealthiest and most powerful citizen in his Texan town; he is also a notorious womanizer, which has turned his wife Hannah against him. She has brought up their son Theron to be dependent upon her; but as he reaches adulthood, Hunnicutt insists on taking over his upbringing, initiating him in hunting and other masculine pursuits, under the watchful eye of Rafe, Hunnicutt's loyal employee. But Theron's new lifestyle leads him into a love-affair with a local girl, and thence to his learning things about his parents that were previously hidden from him.
Captain Wade Hunnicutt is the first citizen in his Texas town. Everyone knows him and respects him, though he does have to come face to face with an irate husband now and then as he is known to have relations with many of the local ladies. He and is wife Hannah live in the same house but are estranged and living separate lives. She has devoted herself to raising their son Theron who has as a result developed something of a reputation as a mama's boy. As he approaches 18, he asks his father to teach him to be a man and he is soon fishing and hunting. He is surprised however when he goes to collect the pretty Libby Halstead but has the door slammed in his face by the girl's father. He doesn't understand why Libby's father would hate him seeing as they had never really met. As he learns the family secrets, he is aghast and decides to make his own way in life. It all leads to death and tragedy.
Dramatic story of the influential Hunnicutt family set in Texas during the late 1950s.
- Captain Wade Hunnicutt is a wealthy and powerful man. His wife Hannah, a gentle and cultured woman, has ceased to love him because of his womanizing. Their son Theron is like his mother and Wade wants to toughen him up. Theron is in love with Libby Halstead but is too shy to ask her out. Rafe Copley, the Hunnicutts' hired hand, speaks to Libby on Theron's behalf. She agrees to accompany him to a barbecue at his parents' home. But when he goes to pick her up, Mr. Halstead orders him away because he is the Captain's son. Theron goes home very upset but his father is angry at him for not standing up to Mr. Halstead.
Since Libby cannot see Theron openly, they begin meeting at a secluded spot. Soon their relationship becomes intimate. Then Theron learns that Rafe is actually his half-brother. Enraged and disgusted because Wade has relegated Rafe to the status of a hired hand, Theron announces that he is no longer his father's son. He gathers all the money he has and presents it to Rafe, along with the keys to his car. But Rafe returns everything. Theron then leaves home and gets a menial job in town. Feeling that he is tainted by his father's actions, he tells Libby that he can't see her anymore.
Some time later, Mr. Halstead pays a visit to the Hunnicutt home and tells the Captain that Theron is more than welcome to call on Libby. Wade reminds him that the last time Theron called at their home, he was ordered away. Mr. Halstead insists it was a mistake. Wade then taunts Mr. Halstead by suggesting that his daughter is in trouble and wanting to pin the blame on Theron. Mr. Halstead knows he is beaten and leaves.
Rafe encounters Libby in the grocery store. His shopping cart is filled with frozen TV dinners, which Libby reminds him are not healthy. Somewhat coyly, she suggests that he needs a good woman to look after him. When he asks if she knows such a woman, she bursts into tears. Over coffee she confides that she needs to get married right away. Rafe offers to talk to Theron and make sure he does the right thing. Libby says Theron wants nothing to do with her now. Rafe offers himself as a substitute and Libby accepts.
He and Libby marry at the justice of the peace's office and take up residence at the Halstead home. Mr. and Mrs. Halstead are very grateful to Rafe for saving their daughter from disgrace. He and Libby soon fall in love for real and several months later become the parents of a son.
At the baby's christening, Mr. Halstead overhears some lewd remarks suggesting that the baby sure looks like Captain Hunnicutt. He concludes mistakenly that Wade is the father and not Theron. Later that day he goes to the Hunnicutt home with a shotgun. Theron is there visiting his mother. He runs to get Rafe but they are too late. Mr. Halstead has shot Wade and fled in his pickup truck. Grabbing a gun, Theron goes after him. Rafe follows and eventually catches up. Mr. Halstead is dead, shot by Theron. Rafe says they have to go to the police and promises he will be with Theron every step of the way. But Theron says he could never face Libby after this and he is leaving. Rafe asks how he will survive but Theron just shrugs. Then he walks away into the woods.
Several months later, Rafe stops by the cemetery and encounters Hannah visiting her husband's grave. On it is an inscription that Wade was the father of two fine sons, Raphael and Theron. Rafe is shocked and asks Hannah if she is sure she wants it right out in the open. She says it is time the truth was known. Rafe then asks her if she would like to visit his son once in a while. He does not say the boy is Theron's son but Hannah seems to know. She agrees and they walk away together.