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Spencer's Mountain (1963)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Family  |  16 May 1963 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,735 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 7 critic

Clay Spencer is a hard-working man who loves his wife and large family. He is respected by his neighbors and always ready to give them a helping hand. Although not a churchgoer, he even ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Preacher Clyde Goodman
Claris Coleman
Miss Parker
Lillian Bronson ...
Dr. Campbell
Colonel Coleman
Kathy Bennett ...
Minnie-Cora Cook
Percy Cook
Mother Ida
Ken Mayer ...
Mr. John


Clay Spencer is a hard-working man who loves his wife and large family. He is respected by his neighbors and always ready to give them a helping hand. Although not a churchgoer, he even helps a newly arrived local minister regain his flock after he and Clay get into a bit of trouble. If he has one dream in life it's to build his wife Olivia a beautiful house on a piece of land he inherited on Spender's mountain. When his eldest son, Clayboy, graduates at the top of his high school class and has the opportunity to go to college, Clay has only one option left to him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Clayboy's schoolteacher impresses upon Clayboy the following phrase, "The world steps aside to let a man pass, if he knows where he is going"


Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 May 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Os Nove Irmãos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)|



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to a Henry Fonda interview seen on the DVD version of this movie, many locals of Jackson Hole, Wyoming were used as extras for scenes in the movie, such as the graduation of Clayboy. See more »


When Clayboy leads rescuers to his father and grandfather, who have been crushed under a gigantic spruce his father had been chopping down, there are freshly sawed limbs showing as Clayboy climbs into the fallen tree to show the men where to cut. See more »


Olivia Spencer: Must you, we got company!
Clay Spencer: [drunk] Come open your arms because I'm going to kiss those ruby lips right off you
[attempting to kiss her]
Olivia Spencer: Oh Clay Stop it! Behave yourself the minister and Ms Parker are in there
Clay Spencer: Oh good for Ms Parker
[continues to kiss and grab his wife]
Olivia Spencer: Clay Stop Clay!
Clay Spencer: I love you woman
See more »


Followed by The Waltons: The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971) See more »


Shall We Gather at the River?
Words and Music by Robert Lowry1864
See more »

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User Reviews

A Tree Grows in Wyoming
10 July 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Wyoming father Henry Fonda (as Clay Spencer) and attractive wife Maureen O'Hara (as Olivia) live on "Spencer's Mountain" with their nine children, plus a grandpa and grandma. To give his large family more room, Mr. Fonda is constructing a bigger "dream house" on his vast mountainous estate. Another dream the family has involves education. Looking mature for his supposedly teenage years, eldest son James MacArthur (as "Clayboy") becomes the first in his family to graduate from high school.

Everyone hopes Mr. MacArthur will go on to college, but he has to learn his Latin for admission. New community preacher Wally Cox (as Goodman) helps MacArthur, but there are other obstacles to overcome. The Spencer family is so large, lack of monetary funds is a concern. Last but not least, the almighty God is against MacArthur's higher education, until he can strike a deal with the Lord; if this seems strange, consider the verse "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

A good-looking man, often appearing shirtless, MacArthur invites much female attention - but he is apparently unsure of his sexuality during the early running time. Doing everything she can to let MacArthur know she is ready for action is sexually aroused Mimsy Farmer (as Claris Coleman). MacArthur does a lot of running in this movie, but everything finally catches up with him.

This is all based on the autobiographical novel "Spencer's Mountain" by Earl Hamner Jr., which even more famously became "The Waltons" when adapted for television in the 1970s. "Clay Spencer" was changed to "John Walton". It was the last appearance for veteran Donald Crisp, who has little to do but does it well. The location photography by Charles Lawton is beautiful.

***** Spencer's Mountain (5/16/63) Delmer Daves ~ James MacArthur. Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, Wally Cox

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