The Siege of Trencher's Farm

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The Siege of Trencher's Farm
First edition
Author Gordon Williams
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Horror, crime
Publisher Secker & Warburg
Publication date
Pages 225
ISBN 978-0-85768-119-5
OCLC 682893422

The Siege of Trencher's Farm (1969) is a novel by British author Gordon Williams and first published by Secker & Warburg. The novel was adapted into the film Straw Dogs (starring Dustin Hoffman) by Sam Peckinpah in 1971, and again in 2011, under the same name. It was republished by Titan Books in 2011 with the same title as the films, Straw Dogs.


George Magruder, an American professor of English, moves with his wife Louise and eight-year-old daughter Karen, to Trencher's Farm in Cornwall, England, so that George can finish a book he is writing. George accidentally hits a child killer with his car and takes him back to the farm, not knowing who he is. When the locals find out, they form to a mob to break into George's house and the professor has to fight them off and protect his family.

Film adaptations[edit]

For the 1971 film adaptation, writers Sam Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman changed several aspects of the novel's story while keeping the overall plot. George and Louise Magruder are renamed David and Amy Sumner, and their eight-year-old daughter, Karen, does not exist in the film. Perhaps most notably, the novel does not contain the controversial rape scene presented in the movie. In the novel, none of the besiegers die. Instead, they are badly injured and face charges.

Henry Niles and Janice Hedden never meet in the book. Hedden suffers from exposure in the snow, while Niles has murdered three girls before the novel began. Janice Hedden is a mentally-disabled eight-year-old girl, not a teenager with a fancy for David Sumner or Henry Niles. Charles Venner is not related to the Heddens and does not besiege the house. He is married and was never in love with Louise.

For the 2011 film adaptation, writer/director Rod Lurie reused elements of Peckinpah's 1971 film, though the setting is changed from England to Mississippi. The main characters are again named David and Amy Sumner. In this adaptation the besiegers die in a variety of violent ways.