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The Big Country (1958)

Passed | | Romance, Western | October 1958 (USA)
A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.


William Wyler


James R. Webb (screenplay), Sy Bartlett (screenplay) | 4 more credits »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... James McKay
Jean Simmons ... Julie Maragon
Carroll Baker ... Patricia Terrill
Charlton Heston ... Steve Leech
Burl Ives ... Rufus Hannassey
Charles Bickford ... Maj. Henry Terrill
Alfonso Bedoya ... Ramón Gutierrez
Chuck Connors ... Buck Hannassey
Chuck Hayward ... Rafe Hannassey
Buff Brady Buff Brady ... Dude Hannassey
Jim Burk Jim Burk ... Blackie / Cracker Hannassey
Dorothy Adams ... Hannassey Woman
Chuck Roberson ... Terrill Cowboy
Bob Morgan Bob Morgan ... Terrill Cowboy
John McKee John McKee ... Terrill Cowboy


Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless land war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!


Romance | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Horizontes de grandeza See more »

Filming Locations:

Ione, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Burl Ives's Oscar winning performance is his only Academy Award nomination. See more »


When Steve Leech first picks up Jim McKay in the buckboard he drives past Buck Hannassey and gang standing outside the saloon mocking Steve. The sun is nearly down as the shadows are very long. Steve then drives around the corner to Julie's house and now the sun is directly overhead. See more »


Rufus Hannassey: Crawl, you act like a dog, crawl like one! Crawl I said, crawl!
See more »


Featured in The Simpsons: The Seemingly Never-Ending Story (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

One of my favorite films of all time
25 November 2007 | by rkershSee all my reviews

I always tell anyone who listens that Gregory Peck never made a bad film. The Big Country is one of his best and one I have watched over and over. As of this writing it is being run by WETA in the widescreen version and I have watched it twice in the last 2 daze . . .

I read a lot of the comments of my fellow admirers and there seems to be a consensus that this movie has few if any weaknesses. Nearly every comment mentions the musical score and the great cast. The unforgettable Burl Ives in his Oscar winning role, Charleton Heston, Carol Baker, Charles Bickford, Chuck Conners and Jean Simmons . . . what a beauty! Until this go 'round I had never given much thought to the location of the story. I figured The Big Country was an obvious reference to The Big Sky country of Montana or at least Wyoming. Since I have been to Texas it would be easy to assume the location was there, especially the cattle ranches and dry canyons. Thanx to IMDb I now know the film was shot in California, another place I have lived and noticed the ranches.

The one overriding thing about this movie that I always felt was that it should have been a mini-series and should have gone on and on. It was a story you could put yourself into and who wouldn't have wanted to be James McKay falling in love with Julie Maragon played by the great Jean Simmons. Bravo!

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