The Shepherd of the Hills (1941 film)

The Shepherd of the Hills is a 1941 American drama film starring John Wayne, Betty Field and Harry Carey.[1] 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 Shepherd of the Hills
Film poster
Directed byHenry Hathaway
Produced byJack Moss
Screenplay by
Based onA novel
by Harold Bell Wright
Music byGerard Carbonara
  • W. Howard Greene
  • Charles Lang
Edited byEllsworth Hoagland
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 18, 1941 (1941-07-18)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States

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.


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.

See also


  1. "The Shepherd of the Hills". New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
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