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
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 »
Aging cowboy Will Penny gets a line camp job on a large cattle spread and finds his isolated cabin is already occupied by a husbandless woman and her young son.
The picture was based upon an episode of the 1960 Sam Peckinpah television series "The Westerner" called "Line Camp," which was also written and directed by Tom Gries. Charlton Heston mentioned that this was his favorite film in which he appeared. Some, including Bruce Dern, say it is his best role. And yet, it is not one he is widely known for.
Roger Ebert wrote, "The admirable thing about the movie is its devotion to real life. These are the kind of people, we feel, who must really have inhabited the West: common, direct, painfully shy in social situations and very honest." This is true. This is not an action film, or a heist film, or anything that turns the West into mythology. It is everyday life.
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