The Big Country

The Big Country

The Big Country is a 1958 American epic Western film directed by William Wyler, and starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston, and Burl Ives. The supporting cast features Charles Bickford and Chuck Connors. Filmed in Technicolor and Technirama, the picture was based on the serialized magazine novel Ambush at Blanco Canyon by Donald Hamilton and was co-produced by Wyler and Peck. The opening title sequence was created by Saul Bass.


Retired sea captain James McKay (Gregory Peck) travels to the American West to join his fiancée Patricia (Carroll Baker) at the enormous ranch owned by her father, Henry Terrill (Charles Bickford), referred to by all as "the Major". After a meeting with Patricia's friend, schoolteacher Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons), McKay and Patricia are accosted by a group of drunks led by Buck Hannassey (Chuck Connors), the son of the Major's ardent and implacable enemy Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives). In spite of the harassment and mockery, McKay surprises Patricia by standing his ground and allowing the group to leave without further incident.