The Big Country

Synopsis: Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless civil war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it.
Genre: Romance, Western
Director(s): William Wyler
Production: MGM/UA
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
166 min

For those that are gonna go on,

one hour to eat, folks,

while we change the horses.

- Let me help you, ma'am.

- Thank you.

- Goodbye.

- Goodbye, Mr. McKay.

Hey, look at that.

All right, Clint. Turn 'em around.

Mr. McKay?


I'm Steve Leech,

foreman at Ladder Ranch.

I brought Pat's buckboard and team for

you. She's waiting at a friend's house.

Thank you. That's very kind.

I was beginning to think

I was in the wrong town.

This your gear?

That's right.

I don't know as I'd wear that hat

too long around here, Mr. McKay.

Oh? Why not?

One of these wild cowboys might take it

into his head to shoot it off ya.

Thank you, Mr. Leech.

How do you do, Mr. Leech?

Boys, don't you know to tip your hats

when the foreman of Ladder goes by?

Come on, let's get outta here.

Pat! Hello, Pat!


Darling, I can't believe

you're really here.

You don't know how long it's been.

Don't I, though!

If I'd known how much I'd miss you,

I'd have made you marry me in Baltimore.

- You haven't changed your mind?

- Do I act as if I had?

You must've wondered when

I wasn't at the hotel to meet you.

I declare, I wasn't gone

more than a minute!

We're gonna be a public scandal.

My hair's still not the way I planned it.

And I know that my nose is red from

waiting in the sun without a hat on.

I'm so glad to see you I could cry!

Thanks for bringing him to me, Steve.

You're welcome.

Anything else I can do for you?

No. If you're through in town,

go on back to Ladder.

- Not ride back with you?

- Oh, heavens, no!

We'll take our time.

We'd only hold you up.

The reason I mention it is that

the Hannassey boys are in town.

They've been drinkin'

We'll be all right, Steve.

Just as you say, Miss Terrill.

Thank you, Mr. Leech.

Well, who lives here?

My friend Julie Maragon.

She's the local schoolteacher.

- Am I still your girl?

- You'd better be.

All right, Julie, you can come out now.

I've finished kissing him,

for a minute or two.


She's gone.

You know, I think I'm gonna like Julie.

Don't mind me, I'm just passing through.

Oh, Julie, you idiot! Come on back here.

This is Jim.

Well, I certainly hope so.

- Hello, Jim.

- Hello, Julie.

Well, what do you think of him?

You don't look like a sailor.

- You don't look like a schoolmarm.

- I didn't say he was a sailor.

I said he was a ship's captain.

His family owns a whole shipping line.

But honestly, darling, you do look

funny out here in those clothes.

That's what Mr. uh... Leech said

when he saw me in that hat.


We shoulda stayed in town.

Got some girls and more liquor.

Maybe we got us somethin' better.

There's Pat Terrill and her eastern dude.

Let's give him a welcome.

Cracker! Get up outta there.

The Hannassey bunch.

Local trash. Keep on driving, Jim.

Looks like they want to talk.

Well, don't stop.

Go right on through 'em.

Let's go after them.

Whoa, boy!

Whoa! Whoa!

Whoa, boy!

Whoa, boy! Whoa!


Whoa! Whoa!

Howdy, Miss Terrill.

That wasn't very social back there.

Well! Whaddaya know?

We got a gentleman with us.

Don't it make you boys feel kinda dirty

to look at such a handsome gentleman

all dressed up in a fancy suit?

Miss Terrill, ain't you gonna

introduce me to your intended?

I wouldn't introduce you to a dog.

The name is McKay.

Polite, too.

Neat, clean and polite.

I sure do like your hat.

- All right, that's enough.

- Pat!

Cut her off there, Rafe.

Look what I got!

Let me try that!

- Hey, Buck, I got me a young one.

- Stop it! Let me out of here!

Don't you lay a hand on him,

Buck Hannassey!

Give me that hat!

Buck Hannassey!

Don't you touch him! Don't you touch him!

You let me out of here!

All right. Turn him loose.

Miss Terrill, he ain't much of a man.

Better send him back

where he come from.

Jim, are you hurt, darling?

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

I'm all in one piece, I guess.

I'm so humiliated, having this

happen to you your first day here.

Don't worry about it. Greenhorns always

have to get knocked around a little.

Why did you take the rifle from me?

I didn't even know

that you had a rifle.

Why did you take it?

Why? Well, I didn't think that

you really wanted to shoot anybody.

The Hannasseys! I'd just as soon

shoot 'em as look at 'em.

You don't mean that.

They were just showing off.

I didn't want to let it get serious.

Jim, you didn't think that was serious?

Not really, no.

Aren't you even angry?


I wish you hadn't taken my rifle.

Well, it's over now.

We're both all right.


Not very good shots, are they?

Or maybe this is a better hat

than I thought.

- Glad we're getting there.

- Oh, yeah. We'll be there before dark.

- Where are you goin'

- I'm in a mood to go courtin'

The schoolmarm?

How are your lessons comin'

You gonna get promoted?

Surprised you, didn't I?

You shoulda seen yourself.

You jumped like a shot deer.

- Knock before you come in.

- I knocked. You didn't hear me.

Well, don't come in until I hear you.

- What do you want?

- I just dropped by to see how you was.

You oughta keep your door locked.


Why, ma'am, a pretty woman livin' alone?

That's kind of a temptation

in a land of men.

That's soup, ain't it?

It's kind of thin. Don't stick to

your ribs like beef and beans.

But it ain't bad.

You're a good cook for a schoolmarm.

Thank you.

You know, Julie, I can just picture

us together out in the Big Muddy.

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James R. Webb

James R. Webb (October 4, 1909 – September 27, 1974) was an American writer. He won an Academy Award in 1963 for How the West Was Won.Webb was born in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from Stanford University in 1930. During the 1930s he worked both as a screenwriter and a fiction writer for a number of national magazines, including Collier's Weekly, Cosmopolitan and the Saturday Evening Post. Webb was commissioned an army officer in June 1942 and became a personal aide to General Lloyd R. Fredendall who was commander of the II Corps (United States). Webb accompanied Fredendall to England in October 1942 and participated in the invasion of North Africa in November 1942 when the Second Corps captured the city of Oran. The Second Corps then attacked eastward into Tunisia. In February 1943 the German army launched a counterattack at Kasserine Pass which repulsed the Second Corps and nearly broke through the Allied lines. The Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower relieved Fredendall of command in March 1943 and sent him back to the United States where he became deputy commander of the Second United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee. Webb returned to the United States with Fredendall and later served in the European Theater. Webb left the Army after the war and returned to Hollywood, California, where he continued his work as a screenwriter. He died on September 27, 1974, and was buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Big Country" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 3 Mar. 2024. <>.

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