The Big Land

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The Big Land
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Alan Ladd
Based on The Big Land
1956 novel 
by Frank Gruber
Starring Alan Ladd
Virginia Mayo
Edmond O'Brien
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Edited by Thomas Reilly
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Big Land is a 1957 Warnercolor Western directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Alan Ladd.


Back home in Texas following the Civil War, former Confederate officer Chad Morgan (Alan Ladd) leads a cattle drive to Missouri, assuring fellow ranchers that their stock will bring $20 a head at auction. Instead, ruthless cattle baron Brog (Anthony Caruso) has scared off all competition and offers much less.

Blamed for what happened, Morgan chooses not to return to Texas. He spends a night in a livery stable and meets town drunk Joe Jagger (Edmond O'Brien), who is nearly lynched for trying to steal whiskey. Chad helps keep Joe sober after they leave town.

They meet farmers who need a better way to sell their wheat, so Chad and Joe ride to Kansas City to meet Tom Draper (Don Castle), a railroad man who is engaged to Joe's sister Helen (Virginia Mayo), a singer in the saloon. Tom likes the idea of a railroad spur to aid the farmers.

Helen is pleased at the change in her brother and thanks Chad, which brings out some jealousy in her fiance. Brog and his henchman disrupt the town's construction attempts while Chad is out of town. Joe tries to stand up to him, resisting the strong temptation to drink, but when he does, Brog guns him down.

Her brother's death causes Helen to turn on Chad upon his return. Brog stampedes cattle through the town. He and his henchman then attempt to ambush Chad, who kills them both in self-defense. Helen embraces him and Tom realizes he has lost her for good.



Film rights to the novel The Big Grass were bought in 1955.[1]


  1. ^ CAGNEY TO HEAD 'BON VOYAGE' CAST: Actor Signs for Third Film at Universal--Columbia Plans 'Wackiest Ship' Ladd Firm Buys Story By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 July 1957: 15

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