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.
Rich Hawaiian pineapple grower and US Senatorial candidate Richard Howland tries to control everything and everyone around him, including his headstrong sister, Slone. Howland learns the ... See full summary »
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
Throughout the movie, Blue (played by Lee Majors) owns and drives a wagon. After the cattle drive is over, he drives his wagon away with his friend Dutchy riding with him. Will Penny (Charlton Heston) and Blue use the wagon to haul Dutchy to the doctor after he is wounded. In the final fight scene, Will and Blue use the wagon to attack the raw-hiders in the line shack allowing Will to jump onto the roof to pour the sulfur down the chimney.
Yet in the concluding scene, Will, Blue and Dutchy ride off on horseback leaving the wagon behind with horses still attached to it. See more »
[Preacher forces Catherine to take up with one of his sons]
I need some time. It's a very hard choice to make.
Of course it's hard. I'll give you two days. That's fair, two days. Now, pick over all the fine points. Rafe there is smarter but he's meaner, and Rufe there, he's stronger but he's dumber. If the good Lord had seen fit to put them both together, they would have made a perfect man.
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One of the best westerns I've ever seen. 'Will Penny' is a movie crying out to be rediscovered!
Peckinpah's flamboyant 'The Wild Bunch' and Leone's innovative spaghetti westerns of the 1960s are among my all time favourites, but the stir they created overshadowed some gems that are now unfairly overlooked - Brando's 'One-Eyed Jacks', and Monte Hellman's 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting' immediately spring to mind. Those three movies all have strong cult followings (just ask Quentin Tarantino!), but for some reason the same can't be said for 'Will Penny'. I don't know why, as it's one of the best westerns I've ever seen. Charlton Heston is of course, a MOVIE STAR and also a controversial figure because of his politics, but sometimes people seem to forget that he could be a damn fine actor when he tried. I think 'Will Penny' is his best performance. Heston plays a low key character, an aging cowboy who is tired of his life but believes it is all he can do. Maybe this is the main reason why 'Will Penny' has been forgotten. He's basically a decent guy, not a larger than life John Wayne hero, or a Clint Eastwood anti-hero. Heston regards Tom Gries' script as one of the finest he's ever read, and I must agree with him. Gries was a TV veteran but this was his big break as a motion picture director. Despite the talent he showed he never became a name director, though he worked steadily until his death in the mid-70s, and was responsible for a few well known films including the Manson movie 'Helter Skelter'. Heston is surrounded by an impeccable supporting cast. His two buddies are played by a young Lee Majors and Anthony Zerbe ('Cool Hand Luke', 'The Omega Man'). Joan Hackett is very good as the woman squatter Penny befriends (her on screen son is played by Tom Gries real life son, who is also excellent). Donald Pleasence is fantastic fun as a crazed preacher, and he and his eldest son (played by Bruce Dern, one of my all time favourite actors) make terrific villains (Dern is always a terrific villain!). Western legends Ben Johnson and Slim Pickens play a ranch foreman and a cook respectively, and then there's character actors galore - G.D. Spradlin, Clifton James, William Schallert, Luke Askew, Matt Clark, Roy Jenson. Off the top of my head, it's difficult to think of a 1960s western with a more impressive cast. 'Will Penny' is a movie crying out to be rediscovered! I highly recommend it to western fans.
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