Will Penny (1967)

Approved  |   |  Romance, Western  |  10 April 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,850 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 17 critic

Aging cowboy Will Penny gets a line camp job on a large cattle spread and finds his isolated cabin is already occupied by a husbandless woman and her young son.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex (Flat Iron Ranch foreman)
Boetius Sullivan
Quentin Dean ...
Dr. Fraker
Lydia Clarke ...
Mrs. Fraker
Robert Luster ...
Shem Bodine


Will Penny, an aging cowpoke, takes a job on a ranch which requires him to ride the line of the property looking for trespassers or, worse, squatters. He finds that his cabin in the high mountains has been appropriated by a woman whose guide to Oregon has deserted her and her son. Too ashamed to kick mother and child out just as the bitter winter of the mountains sets in, he agrees to share the cabin until the spring thaw. But it isn't just the snow that slowly thaws; the lonely man and woman soon forget their mutual hostility and start developing a deep love for one another. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cabin | aging | mountain | child | snow | See All (93) »


The Brute in Everyman Was Also in Him - And the Love and the Violence


Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...E o Bravo Ficou Só  »

Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charlton Heston blamed this picture's poor box-office performance on the film's downbeat ending as well as the Paramount Studios who he said "more or less buried the release of films made under the previous regime, preferring to press forward with their own plans". See more »


During the fight between Will Penny and the Quint family, one of the brothers throws a knife into Penny's chest. A wire attached to the knife a very obvious. See more »


Preacher Quint: I knew'd a fellow once, his wagon team got away with him and run a wheel spoke right through his middle. Bled hisself out, right there. Don't you know how easy it was? It was like taking a little sleep under a shady tree, didn't hurt none at all. He just got kind of drowsy, and he just, well, he just dozed off. Well, sir, it ain't gonna be that easy for you. No, sir, not that easy.
See more »


Referenced in 'Halloween': A Cut Above the Rest (2003) See more »


Lonely Rider, The
Written by David Raksin, Robert Wells
Sung by Don Cherry
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best westerns I've ever seen. 'Will Penny' is a movie crying out to be rediscovered!
21 June 2004 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Peckinpah's flamboyant 'The Wild Bunch' and Leone's innovative spaghetti westerns of the 1960s are among my all time favourites, but the stir they created overshadowed some gems that are now unfairly overlooked - Brando's 'One-Eyed Jacks', and Monte Hellman's 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting' immediately spring to mind. Those three movies all have strong cult followings (just ask Quentin Tarantino!), but for some reason the same can't be said for 'Will Penny'. I don't know why, as it's one of the best westerns I've ever seen. Charlton Heston is of course, a MOVIE STAR and also a controversial figure because of his politics, but sometimes people seem to forget that he could be a damn fine actor when he tried. I think 'Will Penny' is his best performance. Heston plays a low key character, an aging cowboy who is tired of his life but believes it is all he can do. Maybe this is the main reason why 'Will Penny' has been forgotten. He's basically a decent guy, not a larger than life John Wayne hero, or a Clint Eastwood anti-hero. Heston regards Tom Gries' script as one of the finest he's ever read, and I must agree with him. Gries was a TV veteran but this was his big break as a motion picture director. Despite the talent he showed he never became a name director, though he worked steadily until his death in the mid-70s, and was responsible for a few well known films including the Manson movie 'Helter Skelter'. Heston is surrounded by an impeccable supporting cast. His two buddies are played by a young Lee Majors and Anthony Zerbe ('Cool Hand Luke', 'The Omega Man'). Joan Hackett is very good as the woman squatter Penny befriends (her on screen son is played by Tom Gries real life son, who is also excellent). Donald Pleasence is fantastic fun as a crazed preacher, and he and his eldest son (played by Bruce Dern, one of my all time favourite actors) make terrific villains (Dern is always a terrific villain!). Western legends Ben Johnson and Slim Pickens play a ranch foreman and a cook respectively, and then there's character actors galore - G.D. Spradlin, Clifton James, William Schallert, Luke Askew, Matt Clark, Roy Jenson. Off the top of my head, it's difficult to think of a 1960s western with a more impressive cast. 'Will Penny' is a movie crying out to be rediscovered! I highly recommend it to western fans.

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