A teenage girl who lives with her brother falls in love for the first time when a traveling carnival comes to her small town, but things go badly.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Ma Irtley
Ford Rainey ...
Pa Irtley
...
Aunt Ada
John Lozier ...
Bruvver Irtley
...
Naomi Irtley
Buddy Foster ...
J.C. Irtley
Beverly Powers ...
Peter Greene ...
Jake
...
The Reverend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Corley
...
County Road Representative
Raymond Edmonds
Jewell Futch ...
Used Car Salesman
Walter Kramer
Lyla Hay Owen
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Storyline

A teenage girl who lives with her brother falls in love for the first time when a traveling carnival comes to her small town, but things go badly.

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She Learned Everything The Hard Way

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Drama

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R | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Young Prey  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Generic early 70's weirdness
24 October 2007 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

This was part of a strange cycle of early 70's movies focusing on rural Southern hillbillies--"hicks-ploitation" flicks you might call them. Some of the bigger-budgeted ones, like "Walking Tall", were serious and more or less realistic, while others, like some of the films of Roger Corman or Russ Meyers were more exploitative and melodramatic , while others still, like "Country Cuzzins" were flat-out Harry Novakesque softcore porn "comedies". It's hard to say where this oddity fits in. It has kind of a Southern Gothic feel to it like a William Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor morality tale about a family of poor hillbillies who come into money and are approached by every local con artist from used car salesmen to drunken preachers, but eventually end up at a fair (Vanity Fair, perhaps?) where they are preyed on by carnival folk in a long surreal, largely dialgue-free sequence that were so popular in the era (i.e. "Runaway, Runaway" or "The Pick-Up").

There are certainly some exploitative scenes. There's a really strange scene early on, for instance, where the older brother and sister run off hand-in-hand and go skinny-dipping in a particularly filthy-looking pond while hippy-dippy early seventies music plays. I think this is supposed to show the innocence of the characters. But while the actors are not voluptuous "Lil Abner"-esquire caricatures typically found in these kinds of movies, they don't really look "sixteen" either, let alone as young and impossibly naive as they act. It is mostly this pair that is preyed at the carnival--and mostly sexually of course--but (for better or worse) this movie really fails up to live up to its lurid alternate title "The Young Prey".

At times the movie seems to be trying to be a comedy such as when the mother tells a town magistrate that she named her oldest son J.C., not after Jesus Christ, but because there was a sale at J.C. Penney's the week he was born. The comedy falls flat though usually and the movie falls back on it's generic early 70's weirdness. (Of course, I LIKE early 70's weirdness, but others may prefer a movie with more broad comedy and hillbilly sex). The only recognizable star is Mercedes McCambridge, who appeared in several European Jess Franco films AND provided Linda Blair's demonic voice in "The Exorcist". The older daughter is played by a pretty enough actress (even if she won't make anyone forget about "Daisy Mae Clampet" or "Daisy Duke" ). The youngest son called "Brother" looks vaguely familiar and I think was an early 70's TV actor. But I've said enough. Check this out if it sounds interesting to you.


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