A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
In the 1890s, during a harsh northern California winter, members of a ranching family are squabbling among themselves while 2 of the oldest sons go hunting for a panther that is killing their livestock.
After his family is murdered in the 1880s, orphan Jeb Rand is raised by the Callum family on their nearby horse ranch. He remains haunted by this childhood trauma in a recurring nightmare of flashing spurs and confinement inside a trap door as his family is slaughtered. Widow Callum does her best to make Jeb feel loved as he is growing up, but the young man stubbornly maintains a sense of his own identity. While he has great affection for his foster-sister Thor, his relationship with her brother Adam is tenuous at best, especially when Jeb blames him for shooting a colt that he was riding. Although Mrs. Callum blames the incident on deer hunters, she is aware that the it was actually the attempted murder of the youngster by her brother-in-law Grant, a shadowy figure who, for vague reasons, is determined to harm Jeb. Jeb loses a coin flip with Adam, and becomes the designated family volunteer to fight in the Spanish-American War. Jeb returns a hero, but does not find happiness. ...Written by
0ne of the strangest western ever, one of the very best too.
The story of a man deprived of his past, doomed with a feeling that he does not belong here. Mitchum gives one of his best performance and the other actors are also excellent. Walsh direction is as ever powerful and gives to the movie a sense of shakespearian tragedy. One of the peculiarity of this movie is the importance and complexity of women's characters: it is they that take the meaningful decision, it is they that know better than the men whether they are too stupid (Jeb Rand's brother), too sore (Mac Callum) or too foreign to their own destiny (Jeb rand).
In a word, don't miss it!
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