The Big Country, starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, Charles Bickford, and Chuck Connors.
This is a great film, with an amazing cast and an unforgettably awesome musical score! I fell in love with this motion picture when I was in middle school--back in the days of the CBS late night movie. Anybody out there remember those, or am I the only one?
The Big Country so much, that as an adult I purchased it on video--as you can tell, that was quite a few years ago. I haven't gotten around to ordering it on DVD yet.
The setting of the story helped to inspire part of my upcoming novel, Masquerade: Book Two of the Unchained Trilogy. Masquerade is not a western, but the hero and heroine of part one, Escape, eventually end up in California where they raise their family on a huge ranch.
The Big Country actually takes place in Texas (though filmed in California), as an easterner, the honorable Jim McKay (Gregory Peck), moves there to be with his fiance, Pat Terrill (Carroll Baker), whose family owns an enormous ranch. In Masquerade, a New Yorker ventures to California in search of answers.
Although the plots aren't similar, (The Big Country focuses on two clans fighting over water rights, while Masquerade revolves around the revelation of true identities), I love the feel of the West portrayed in The Big Country. Watching it inspired my writing, and Chuck Connors's bad guy, Buck Hannassey, inspired one of my characters. And yes, I admit, I re-crafted a little of his dialogue for one of my scenes!
The Big Country--he plays such an excellent dirt-bag. They'll hate Burl Ives too, the jovial grandfatherly folksinger of "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Frosty the Snowman." He plays Connors's father, a senior dirt-bag, and he did it so well, he won a best supporting actor Oscar!
Here's a great article at the Bijou Blog for some fun behind the scenes facts!
If you haven't seen The Big Country, it's worth renting--even if you don't like westerns! It's actually based on on the serialized magazine novel Ambush at Blanco Canyon by Donald Hamilton.
Do you like westerns? Have you ever seen The Big Country?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!