In the western frontier town of Cross Creek storekeeper George Temple is a polite and soft spoken man with a secret past.When three bank robbers on the lam stop in town to change horses George Temple's past comes back to haunt him.
Searching for a doctor who can help him get his son to speak again--the boy hadn't uttered a word since he saw his mother die in the fire that burned down the family home--a Confederate veteran finds himself facing a 30-day jail sentence when he's unfairly accused of starting a brawl in a small town. A local woman pays his fine, providing that he works it off on her ranch. He soon finds himself involved in the woman's struggle to keep her ranch from a local landowner who wants it--and whose sons were responsible for the man being framed for the fight.Written by
Adolphe Menjou was originally cast in the film but was replaced when he torn ligaments in his leg and groin. See more »
The opening scene - supposedly Illinois - shows a tall mountain range. There are no mountains in Illinois. See more »
Why don't you have a picture taken, Linnett, with your pretty dress and bonnet?
Well, what would I do with it?
Look at it now and then. In ten years from now, you'll know what you looked like today.
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Although young David Ladd had actually made a brief appearance in his father's western The Big Land the year before, it was decided that David would make a featured debut in this family picture about a father and son roughing it in post Civil War America.
Alan Ladd, late of the Confederate Army, and a widower has searched for and found his son in an orphanage in Pennsylvania. The Yankee soldiers took him and other kids left without homes to northern orphanages. In David's case he's lost his voice due to the traumatic shock of barely escaping the fire from a Union Army shell that burned down his home and killed his mother while Dad was in the army.
They're together now and working their way west. They run afoul of Dean Jagger and his roughneck sons in Illinois, but make friends of spinster farm lady Olivia DeHavilland and Quaker doctor Cecil Kellaway.
David has a sheepdog who could be valuable. And his father has some critical decisions to make about how to pay for an operation that might cure his son's vocal paralysis.
The casting by Alan Ladd of his son David was a stroke of good fortune as the chemistry between the real father and son proved to be a winner. Also Dean Jagger as the one armed sheepherder who has designs on Olivia's land was also very good and against type.
Playing Jagger's two sons are Tom Pittman and Harry Dean Stanton. Stanton, God Bless Him, is still around today, a very highly respected character actor who never seemed to lack for work. As for Tom Pittman, he was killed in a car crash while this film was out in theaters. John Mitchum in his memoirs Them Ornery Mitchum Boys, spoke very highly of Pittman, said he had a solid career ahead of him. He also described a harrowing experience where Pittman was missing for several days before police found him and his car and the bottom of a ravine where they had gone off the road.
This film marked a reunion of Olivia DeHavilland with Michael Curtiz who directed a whole bunch of her films at Warner Brothers back when she was a young leading lady and favorite leading lady of Errol Flynn. Olivia is older now and delivers a good performance as the wise and compassionate farm woman who takes in the Ladds.
With Ladd also producing and starring in this with his younger son, The Proud Rebel is a good family film in every sense of the word.
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