In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Will Penny, an aging cowpoke, takes a "line-rider" job on a vast cattle ranch requiring him to keep trespassers and squatters moving until they're off the property. Ironically, he discovers that the mountain cabin reserved for the line rider has been appropriated by Catherine Allen and her young son, Horace, whose guide has deserted them en route to Oregon to join Catherine's husband. Too soft-hearted and ashamed to kick mother and child out just as the bitter Rocky Mountains winter sets in, he agrees to share the cabin until the spring thaw. But it isn't just the snow that slowly thaws; lonely man and woman soon forget their considerable dissimilarities and start developing a deep, if awkward and unstated, love for each another. Beyond this, Horace finds in Will the father he's never known, and Will finds in Horace the son he's never known he's wanted. The trio's little refuge is then invaded by Bible-quoting preacher Quint and his murderous family of "rawhiders", who'd earlier ...Written by
Various people said to Charlton Heston, as outlined in his 1995 autobiography, "In the Arena: An Autobiography", "That's maybe the best movie you ever made, Chuck, but if you'd taken the girl with you at the end, it would've made a ton of money, too." See more »
When Will Penny is attacked and knifed by the Quint family he is left for dead with no clothing whatsoever other than his long underwear and his hat. A short time later after recovering in Catherine's bed in the line shack he is shown fully clothed, chopping wood with his arm in a sling. Only much later when he prepares to take a bath, while also still wearing his previous wardrobe, he asks Catherine, What do I wear? She tells him he can wear her husband's clothes. How could he possibly have his previous wardrobe when after the attack he was left with only his underwear and hat?
It is however very possible that there was a change of clothes left by the previous occupant of the cabin, so this cannot be considered a goof. See more »
No, he ain't dead. Leave him be.
Leave him? Pa . . .
Leave him be. Out here, by hisself, no goods, winter coming on. He's gonna be a long while dying. And all that time, he's gonna know who done it to him. Yes, sir, a mighty long time, and then he'll be dead.
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If any western that I have seen feels authentic to the old west it is "Will Penny". The Inyo County, California locations are wonderful and the cowboys at work scenes are refreshingly honest.
The basic storyline serves as a template to work more on character development and the cast (full of western stalwarts) do not disappoint.
Charlton Heston as Will Penny is on great form as the vulnerable, middle aged man of the plains. He is a little backward but unfailingly truthful and decent. He and his friends "Blue" and "Dutchy" represent the best principles of old west comradeship and his approach to Mrs Allen and her son "H.G" shows with tenderness what he has craved to have all his life but knows it is too late to embrace.
I found Donald Pleasence a bit over the top as the evil "Preacher Quint", but his portrayal is entertaining if nothing else. Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens and Lee majors all do a good job in support and Joan Hackett is completely convincing as the lone mother in search of a better life.
Very much a film for those viewers who like to experience, feel and be touched by a well written story and its characters.
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