Guns of the Timberland

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Guns of the Timberland
Guns of the Timberlands.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert D. Webb
Produced byAaron Spelling
Alan Ladd
Written byJoseph Petracca
Based onnovel by Louis L'Amour
StarringAlan Ladd
Jeanne Crain
Gilbert Roland
Frankie Avalon
Music byDavid Buttolph
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Edited byTom McAdoo
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 1, 1960 (1960-02-01)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

Guns of the Timberland is a 1960 American Technicolor Western film directed by Robert D. Webb starring Alan Ladd, Jeanne Crain, Gilbert Roland and Frankie Avalon.


Logger Jim Hadley (Alan Ladd) and his lumberjack crew are looking for new forest to cut. They locate a prime prospect outside the town of Deep Wells. The residents of Deep Wells led by Laura Riley (Jeanne Crain) are opposed to the felling of the trees, believing that losing them would cause mudslides during the heavy rains. Conflict between the town's residents and the loggers is inevitable.




Louis L'Amour's novel Guns of the Timberlands was published in 1955 and sold over a million copies.[1]

L'Amour had become popular with Hollywood following the success of Hondo and the novel was optioned by Alan Ladd's company, Jaguar, in 1955.[2][3] Ladd offered a lead role to Van Heflin, hoping to reunite his old co-star from Shane.[4] He also wanted Raymond Burr.[5]

The working title for the film was "Shasta".[6]

In 1957, it was announced the film would be made from a script by David Victor and Herbert Little, and to be produced by Albert J Cohen.[7] Subsequently, Alan Ladd completed two TV pilots with Aaron Spelling. Spelling's work so impressed Ladd that he made Spelling a producer on his next picture, The Guns of the Timberland.[8] Robert Webb and Joseph Petracca had just written The Proud Rebel for Ladd; Webb was hired to direct Timberland from a script by Petracca.[9]

Van Heflin never appeared in the film. Jeanne Crain and Gilbert Roland signed to support Ladd, along with the latter's daughter Alana. Frankie Avalon, who just had a hit single in Venus, signed to make his dramatic debut in the film.[10] Avalon later said, "I'm sure the reason why Warner Bros. said, 'Let's get this kid' is that he has lots of fans out there and he's getting 12,000 to 15,000 fans letters a week. 'Let's put him in a picture with a guy like Alan Ladd'."[11]

Avalon's performance led to his casting in The Alamo.[11]


Filming started April 1959.[12]

The film was shot on location in and around Blairsden, California, Graeagle, California, and other locations throughout Plumas County.[13] The scenes involving the steam engine and railroad cars were shot on the Western Pacific Railroad right-of-way. The scene where the steam engine goes over the tall "bridge" was shot using the Clio trestle.

Filming finished in June 1959.[14]

In the film, Frankie Avalon sings two songs, "The Faithful Kind" and "Gee Whiz Whillikins Golly Gee", both were released on a 45 rpm single in 1960.


  1. ^ GERALD, B. C. (1975, May 28). How an author's pen wins west. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. ^ Don'ts for Horse Operas Stressed: Write for the Experts, Says Best-Selling Louis L'Amour Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 July 1958: C9.
  3. ^ Dorothy Kilgallen: Friends Think Bing May Wed Kathy The Washington Post and Times Herald (1954-1959) [Washington, D.C] 25 Nov 1955: 37.
  4. ^ A.F.L. UNIT URGES BOYCOTT OF FILM: Council Says 'Daniel Boone' Was Made Outside U.S. to Flout Union Control Of Local Origin By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Feb 1956: 24.
  5. ^ Drama: Joanne Woodward's Pact Continued Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Jan 1956: 20.
  6. ^ "Guns of the Timberland: Notes at TCM.COM". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  7. ^ MOVIELAND EVENTS: 'Guns of Timberland' on Active Schedule Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 03 Apr 1957: B8.
  8. ^ Borgnine Takes a Script to Carolyn Jones' Home Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 17 Mar 1959: b7.
  9. ^ ALAN LADD FILM NAMES DIRECTOR: Robert Webb Is Signed for 'Guns of Timberland' -- Columbia Adds Writers Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 Mar 1959: 45
  10. ^ FILMLAND EVENTS: Fred MacMurray Offered New Lead Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 07 Apr 1959: A8.
  11. ^ a b King, Susan (7 January 2003). "The reluctant Angel". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ "THALBERG AWARD TO JACK WARNER: Studio President Cited for High Quality of Movies--Ladd's Co-Stars Named, New York Times, March 26, 1959" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  13. ^ "Epodunk Quincy Community Profile, Filming location for 1960 movie, Guns of the Timberland". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1959


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