GenreAdventure, Drama, Western Music directorGerard Carbonara CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 18, 1941 (1941-07-18) Based onA novel
by Harold Bell Wright WriterHarold Bell Wright (novel), Grover Jones (screenplay), Stuart Anthony (screenplay) CastJohn Wayne (Young Matt), Ward Bond (Wash Gibbs), Betty Field (Sammy Lane), Harry Carey (Daniel Howitt), Beulah Bondi (Aunt Mollie), James Barton (Old Matt) Similar moviesRelated Henry Hathaway movies
TaglineWayne's first film in color (Technicolor).
The Shepherd of the Hills is a 1941 American drama film starring John Wayne, Betty Field and Harry Carey. The supporting cast includes Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Marjorie Main and John Qualen. The picture was Wayne's first film in Technicolor and was based on the novel of the same name by Harold Bell Wright. The director was Henry Hathaway, who directed several other Wayne films including True Grit almost three decades later.
The story was filmed previously in the silent era by author Wright himself in 1919, released on State Rights basis. It was filmed again, in 1928, at First National Pictures.
The shepherd of the hills 1941 trailer
John Wayne as Young Matt
Betty Field as Sammy Lane
Harry Carey as Daniel Howitt
Beulah Bondi as Aunt Mollie
James Barton as Old Matt
Samuel S. Hinds as Andy Beeler
Marjorie Main as Granny Becky
Ward Bond as Wash Gibbs
Marc Lawrence as Pete
John Qualen as Coot Royal
Fuzzy Knight as Mr. Palestrom
Tom Fadden as Jim Lane
Olin Howland as Corky
Dorothy Adams as Elvy
Virita Campbell as Baby
Selmer Jackson as Doctor (uncredited)
Differences from the novel
While the novel interposed fiction with portrayals of actual persons residing in the Missouri Ozarks, in the early Branson area, the film departed markedly from the book's presentations. Old Matt, a patriarch, mill owner and influential person within the community, is presented in the film as a doddering fool, henpecked by his wife, Aunt Mollie. In the novel she's a nurturing, kindly, loyal wife and friend, but in this film she is a shrill, nasty moonshiner. The "Shepherd" of the title, a cultured, sympathetic visitor from Chicago who contributes positively to the society he's visiting, in this film is an aging gunfighter with a guarded past and, in total odds with the book, is here Young Matt's (John Wayne's) father, with a shootout perpetrated by "Big John." Other characters differ as markedly from Wright's novel.