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.
A pair of grizzled frontiersmen fight Indians, guzzle liquor and steal squaws in their search for a legendary valley 'so full of beaver that they jump right into your traps' in this fanciful adventure.
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
Charlton Heston said of Writer and Director Tom Gries in his 1995 autobiography "In the Arena: An Autobiography": Gries was "a gifted, mercurial, oddly unpredictable, and somewhat childlike man. He was not a good captain, which a great director must be given the right material Gries excelled." See more »
During the fight between Will Penny and the Quint family, one of the brothers throws a knife into Penny's chest. A wire attached to the knife a very obvious. See more »
I knew'd a fellow once, his wagon team got away with him and run a wheel spoke right through his middle. Bled hisself out, right there. Don't you know how easy it was? It was like taking a little sleep under a shady tree, didn't hurt none at all. He just got kind of drowsy, and he just, well, he just dozed off. Well, sir, it ain't gonna be that easy for you. No, sir, not that easy.
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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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