The Shepherd of the Hills

  • PG
  • Henry Hathaway (1941)
  • US
  • 93 min
The Shepherd of the Hills
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

The 2010 thriller Winter's Bone was set among the moonshine community of the Ozark Mountains and starred Jennifer Lawrence as a daughter looking for her errant father. This 1943 yarn is set in the same rural backwater and features John Wayne as the young moonshiner who blames his absent father for the death of his mother and spends his days plotting revenge. The heavyweight presence of Wayne helps make this one of the best adaptations of Harold Bell Wright's Missouri-set novel. Betty Field plays the girl who won't marry Wayne while he's consumed with hate. The Duke makes the most of his opportunity here, cementing his new-found stardom after Stagecoach in a part that now seems very different to his later roles, while no-nonsense director Henry Hathaway just stands back and lets the splendid cast get on with it.

Plot Summary

Adventure starring John Wayne and Betty Field. Matt Matthews, an Ozark Mountains moonshiner, has vowed since boyhood to kill a man he has never seen - his own father, who seemingly deserted Matt's mother and left her to die. It's an all-consuming quest that's preventing him from marrying his sweetheart, Sammy Lane.

Cast and crew


Young Matt Matthews
John Wayne
Sammy Lane
Betty Field
Daniel Howitt
Harry Carey
Aunt Mollie
Beulah Bondi
Old Matt
James Barton
Andy Beeler
Samuel S Hinds
Granny Becky
Marjorie Main
Wash Gibbs
Ward Bond
Coot Royal
John Qualen
Mr Palestrom
Fuzzy Knight
Jim Lane
Tom Fadden
Marc Lawrence (1)


Henry Hathaway

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Paramount Film Service Ltd
Available on DVD
Certificate PG