Sunday, February 26, 2023

"Real Genius" (1985)

Real Genius
 (1985) always reminds me of college and my friend Ed.  That's because she and I discovered it together during our sophomore year there.  (Yes, Ed is a she -- E and D were her initials, and Ed was her nickname.  We called her Lady Ed on formal occasions.)  I'm pretty sure I nabbed a used VHS copy of it at a going-out-of-business video store sale, buying it solely because I loved Val Kilmer.  But Ed loved '80s comedies, the zanier the better, so it's possible she'd seen it before and suggested we rent it because she liked it and knew I liked Kilmer.  And then I bought a copy after seeing it with her.

Either way, we became obsessed with this movie.  We watched it over and over during our sophomore year.  We were living with two other girls in an apartment that year, and one of them also enjoyed the movie, though she didn't get quite so deeply involved with it as Ed and I did.

By "deeply involved," I mean we quoted it endlessly.  "It's a moral imperative" became a kind of mantra for us, our best reason for deciding to do anything from trying a new shampoo to staying up until 2am on a Friday night/Saturday morning to watch one more movie before crashing.  We quoted a lot of other lines too.  "Rue the day?  Who talks like that?" was another favorite, mostly because WE were the sort of literary nerds who talked like that.

And Real Genius inspired the three of us to buy "alien antennae" like Chris Knight (Val Kilmer) wears in his first scene.  We found them at a Halloween store, I think, or at least during Halloween, and we wore them to classes and all around campus.  Not all the time.  Not every day.  But every couple of weeks, for the rest of that year and on into the next, we'd decide one night that tomorrow would be Antennae Day, and we'd all three wear them to class, the cafeteria, choir practice, everywhere.

Wearing those antennae taught me the power of costumes.  Ed was already an outgoing person, but our third Musketeer and I were both quite shy.  I don't know how it worked for my fellow shy roommate, but for me, wearing those antennae gave me a boldness I usually lacked.  Somehow, knowing that people would be looking at the antennae on my head, not just at me, made me willing to be a little more outgoing.  Not a lot -- they didn't change my personality.  But if a basketball player stopped me to ask if I was a bug or an alien, I'd make some funny or cute remark back about it being a secret, so I'd have to kill him if I told him.  Ordinarily, I probably would have mumbled something, but knowing he was staring at the antennae gave me some kind of inner spark of energy or something.

Anyway, rewatching Real Genius to review it this week flooded me with nostalgia.  I didn't just remember the movie, I remembered all our good times watching it, using the movie to psych ourselves up before a big test or something difficult.  It always had a sort of empowering effect on us like that, filling us with confidence.  

The movie is honestly pretty standard '80s teen comedy fare.  There's a geeky genius named Mitch (Gabe Jarret) who gets accepted to a prestigious science school.  

His new roommate Chris (Val Kilmer) is an unconventional charmer who glides through life (and school) with an insouciant swagger, tossing off funny quips and profound nonsense at every turn.  Also, he wears bunny slippers a lot.  

There's also a mysterious man who comes and goes via the closet in their room.  Mitch eventually learns this is Lazlo Hollyfeld (Jon Gries), who was once the smartest, youngest student at the school, but now is a recluse who lives in the steam tunnels.  (If he looks familiar, Gries played Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite...)

Together, Lazlo, Mitch, and Chris discover that a professor (William Atherton) is going to use their research and inventions to build a laser weapon for the military, so they decide to sabotage his project.  The sabotage involves filling the professor's house with popcorn, which he hates, in a pretty spectacular and memorable finale.

The science in the movie ranges from flimsy to just barely plausible.  The school is laughably unrealistic.  The ease with which Chris and Mitch sneak onto a military base and sabotage a top secret project is nonsensical.  But that doesn't matter.  Because... Val Kilmer sells the whole thing, one swaggering bon mot at a time.

I really wonder what filming this was like for Kilmer.  After all, he was a bit of a boy genius himself -- the youngest student ever accepted to the acting program at Juliard.  I wonder if he's so very, very effective at mentoring Mitch because, in a way, Kilmer saw a bit of his own past situation in Mitch's story.  Boy genius, youngest student at a place filled with talented people, lots of pressure to succeed... it must have felt familiar, don't you think?  I wonder if Kilmer exudes such actual kindness and care through this character because he's playing the sort of mentor he once needed.  Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into this fluffy bit of tomfoolery!

Is this movie family friendly?  Ummmmm, welllllll, not exactly.  It's only rated PG, but I really think it should be PG-13, due to the innuendo and sexual references scattered throughout, mostly in dialog but also some implied visually.  But the PG-13 rating was still very new in 1985, so I guess they decided not to apply it here.  I won't let my kids watch it yet, but I probably will when they are in their upper teens.

This review is my contribution to the fifth So Bad It's Good Blogathon hosted by Taking Up Room.  I'm so glad it gave me a reason to revisit this movie, which I do love even though it's cheesy and unrealistic and ridiculous and goofy.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

We Love LMM Week Wrap-Up + Giveaway Winners!

I'll be nice and announce the giveaway winners first :-)  They are:

Prize 1: A gently used copy of The Blue Castle and matching bookmark -- Katherine

Prize 2: One Anne and one Gilbert sticker -- Grace A.

Prize 3: One Kindred Spirits and one LM Montgomery sticker -- Roxann

Prize 4: A brand-new copy of Anne of Green Gables -- Sarah H.

Prize 5: One sheet of "Anne Shirley" stickers -- Carissa H.

Prize 6: One sheet of "Anne and Gilbert" stickers -- Carol

Prize 7: A used copy of A Tangled Web -- Samantha

Congratulations to all the winners!!!  I will be sending you an email at the address you provided to the widget, telling you what you won (in case you don't see this) and asking for your mailing address.  Be on the lookout for that! (I have a very busy day today, so it might not arrive until tonight...)

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fun and joyful celebration of L. M. Montgomery and her writing.  I am waaaaaay behind on reading people's contributions, but I promise I will read them all!  This week has been a bit hectic, but I suspect I will have some good time for them next week.  Anyway, here is the widget one more time so you don't have to scroll all the way down to the kick-off post to find it.  If you haven't read everyone's posts, or if you have a last-minute post to add to the widget, this should make it easier for you!

Answers to LMM Character Unscramble

Here are the answers to Tuesday's unscramble game!  Scores are at the bottom.

1. Clayvan Girltins = Valancy Stirling (from The Blue Castle)

2. Anje Tartus = Jane Stuart (from Jane of Lantern Hill)

3. Limey Rarst = Emily Starr (from the Emily of New Moon books)

4. Nena Reylish = Anne Shirley (from the Anne of Green Gables books)

5. Nearby Hatsin = Barney Snaith (from The Blue Castle)

6. Rasa Leantsy = Sara Stanley (from The Story Girl books)

7. Britleg Thelby = Gilbert Blythe (from the Anne of Green Gables books)

8. Piratica Dragrine = Patricia Gardiner (from the Pat of Silver Bush books)

9. Wethmat Betcurth = Matthew Cuthbert (from the Anne of Green Gables books)

10. Andia Rarby = Diana Barry (from the Anne of Green Gables books)


Livia Rachelle -- 10
Sam Mouse -- 10
Ivy Miranda 9.5
Lissa -- 9
Olivia -- 9
Sarah -- 5.5

Friday, February 24, 2023

The LMM Tag -- My Answers

It's my turn to answer the tag questions for this week's party!

1. Who introduced you to L. M. Montgomery's writing?  Tell us the story!

When I was about seven years old, a new friend of my mom's told her about the Anne series.  I remember she even had a copy of one of the books in her diaper bag when she came over for a visit with her baby.  My mom got Anne of Green Gables from the library, read it, then read it aloud to me at bedtimes.  

This was in the late '80s, right about the time the second Kevin Sullivan Anne movie came to PBS.  We were able to get the first movie from the video store or library and watch it, then watched the second one on PBS.  Somewhere along the line, my dad got to watch the first movie too, and he fell absolutely in love with the production.  We rented both movies so often that my little brother got sick of them, silly boy.

My grandparents gave me a boxed set of the first three books for either my birthday or Christmas, and then gradually gave me the rest of the Anne series over the next couple of gift-giving occasions until I had all eight.  I still have those copies, though they are very "well loved" by now!

2. What LMM books have you read?

Here are all the books of hers I've read, with the titles of most of them linked to my reviews of them from over on my book blog:

3. What movies or shows based on her books have you watched?

I have seen Anne of Green Gables (1985) and Anne of Avonlea (1987) innumerable times.  I've also seen the 1934 version of AOGG once.  That's it!

4. Which LMM character is your kindred spirit, the one you'd like to hang out with in real life?

This would have shocked me as a kid, but I think that Marilla Cuthbert and I would get along real well.  I'd love to be able to just stop by Green Gables and have an afternoon cup of tea with her once a week.

5. Which LMM character do you relate to the most?  And why?

I relate to Jane Stuart in Jane of Lantern Hill quite a bit.  She loves to bake and cook and garden, and so do I.  She can be shy and reserved, but when she's around people she knows and trusts, she is bright and joyful, and I am a lot like that too.

6. Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island?

Alas, no.  I've been to Canada more than a dozen times, since I spent most of my childhood in Michigan, but I haven't made it to PEI yet.  Yet!

7. Who is your favorite LMM heroine?

Anne Shirley Blythe.  I even gave my first daughter 'Anne' for a middle name in her honor.

8. Who is your favorite LMM hero?

Barney Snaith from The Blue Castle.  Yes, yes, yes, I know Gilbert is wonderful.  He truly is.  But he doesn't make me laugh and cheer and sigh the way Barney does.  

9. Do you have any fun merch related to her books?  If so, please share some photos!

I do!  I have a shelf and a half devoted to her books, with oodles of mugs and several candles stored in front of them.

10. What are some of your favorite LMM quotations?

"It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will." (Anne of Green Gables)

"Don't you know that it is only very foolish folk who talk sense all the time?" (Anne of Avonlea)

"Nobody is ever too old to dream. And dreams never grow old." (Anne of Windy Poplars)

"Shirking responsibilities is the curse of our modern life -- the secret of all the unrest and discontent that is seething in the world." (Anne's House of Dreams)

"John Foster says," quoted Valancy, "'If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying'." (The Blue Castle)

"It is the essence of adventure to see the break of a new day." (Jane of Lantern Hill)

It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter. (Rainbow Valley)

Don't forget that today is the last day you can enter my giveaway!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

L M Montgomery Character Unscramble

Here's the second game for L. M. Montgomery Week!  I have scrambled up the names of ten major characters from Montgomery's books.  Your job is to unscramble them and leave your answers in the comments.  I'm putting all comments on moderation so no one can copy someone else's answers.  I'll reveal the answers and post everyone's scores at the end of the week.

1. Clayvan Girltins

2. Anje Tartus

3. Limey Rarst

4. Nena Reylish

5. Nearby Hatsin

6. Rasa Leantsy

7. Britleg Thelby

8. Piratica Dragrine

9. Wethmat Betcurth

10. Andia Rarby

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Create Your Own L M Montgomery-esque Story

Here's my first game for We Love L. M. Montgomery Week!  Just fill in the blanks here to put together your very own little LMM-esque story, starring you!  You'll need a die to roll for most of these, so grab one before you get started.

Your Name

__A__ of ___B___  ___C___

A. Your first name (or your screen name)

B. The color of the shirt you're wearing today.

C. Roll a die to figure out where you live:
1 = Cottage
2 = Hill
3 = Island
4 = Lake
5 = Shores
6 = Valley
You put those all together like this:

Rachel of Olive Shores

Your Story

Roll your die again and discover you are...

1 = an orphaned child
2 = a misunderstood teen
3 = a wandering artist
4 = a lonely farm girl/boy
5 = a young widow/er
6 = a new teacher 

Roll again to determine how your story begins!

1 = taken in by kindly spinster sisters
2 = inherited a house on Prince Edward Island
3 = landed a job at a one-room schoolhouse
4 = reunited with a long-lost parent
5 = won a vacation in Muskoka in a church raffle
6 = found a lion in your barn

But then... roll your die to see what happens next...

1 = Your sweetheart elopes with your cousin!
2 = Your attic is infested with squirrels!
3 = A neighbor accuses you of stealing their prize pumpkin!
4 = You lose someone else's valuable necklace!
5 = You win a writing contest you don't remember entering!
6 = The person you want to marry reveals their secret identity!

But it all ends happily because you...

1 = make friends with an old sea captain who teaches you that worrying is pointless.
2 = find a treasure chest washed up after a storm and are suddenly rich.
3 = adopt two cats with funny names who fill your life with joy.
4 = fall in love with your worst enemy and discover they're really nice after all.
5 = recite an epic poem at a concert and receive an offer to tour with an acting troupe.
6 = rescue the new minister's little boy from drowning and are declared a local hero.

Put that all together in a comment and share your LMM-esque story with us all!  (Please note that comments are still on moderation because of yesterday's game, so your comment won't show up right away.  I will approve your comments as quickly as I can, whenever they show up!)

My story:

I'm Rachel of Olive Shores, and I am a wandering artist who found a lion in my barn!  Oh my!  I didn't even know I owned a barn, since I tend to just wander around doing art!  But just when I was getting to know my new feline friend, I discovered that my sweetheart had eloped with my cousin.  I was glad I had my new leonine friend to comfort me while I cried over my lost love.  Then, one day, I recited an epic poem with my lion pal at a concert that a famous theatre manager just happened to be attending.  He liked my recitation so much, he offered me a job with a touring acting troupe, so now my lion and I wander about doing art, reciting epic poetry, and acting in plays with our new friends.

YOUR TURN!  Put the results of your dice rolls together in a comment so we can enjoy your LMM-esque story too :-)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Welcome to We Love L M Montgomery Week!

Welcome, friends!  It's time to spend a week celebrating the one and only Lucy Maud Montgomery!  Help yourself to some raspberry cordial and a slice of cake -- I promised I made sure I used vanilla extract in it, not liniment.

All week long, whenever you share a post for this party, please leave a link to your post in this widget!  Yes, that includes posts where you fill out the party tag. Then follow other people's links to read their posts and make some new friends!

Speaking of the tag, here it is:

The LMM Tag

1. Who introduced you to L. M. Montgomery's writing?  Tell us the story!
2. What LMM books have you read?
3. What movies or shows based on her books have you watched?
4. Which LMM character is your kindred spirit, the one you'd like to hang out with in real life?
5. Which LMM character do you relate to the most?  And why?
6. Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island?
7. Who is your favorite LMM heroine?
8. Who is your favorite LMM hero?
9. Do you have any fun merch related to her books?  If so, please share some photos!
10. What are some of your favorite LMM quotations?

Just copy those questions, paste them into a post for your own blog, answer them, and share!  Don't forget to add a button or two (you can find more here) and link to this kick-off post so other people can find their way here and join the fun.

I've already started my giveaway right here, so be sure to check that out to see the prizes and enter to win them!  I'll be sharing some party games over the next couple days, so be sure to come back and play those too.

Giveaway for We Love LM Montgomery Week

Here we go!  Time to kick off We Love LM Montgomery Week in style!  

This giveaway is open internationally. If the USPS delivers to your country, you may enter. 

More about the prizes: 

Prize 1: A gently used paperback copy of The Blue Castle paired with a matching "vegan leather" bookmark I purchased from the shop A Fine Quotation.  This style of bookmark has been discontinued, but I nabbed one quick for this giveaway before they were gone!  This book is gently used, and you can see that one of the corners is a little bent, but the spine is uncreased and it is basically like-new.

If you haven't read The Blue Castle, you can read my review of it here.

Prize 2: One Anne and one Gilbert sticker 

Prize 3: One Kindred Spirits and one LM Montgomery sticker

I purchased these four stickers from A Fine Quotation also.  They are between 3" and 3.25" tall and very durable, water-resistant, and fade-resistant.  I have many, many stickers from this shop, and they work great on things like metal and plastic.  I've even hand-washed some on water bottles and such, and they are very sturdy.

Prize 4: A brand-new hardcover copy of Anne of Green Gables, the "Lifetime Library" edition.

If you haven't read Anne of Green Gables, you can read my review of it here.

Prize 5: One sheet of "Anne Shirley" stickers

Prize 6: One sheet of "Anne and Gilbert" stickers

I purchased both of these sticker sheets from TaleMeCo on Etsy.

Prize 7: A used paperback copy of A Tangled Web.  As you can see in the picture below, this copy does have a few minor rips in the cover.  I bought this used at a thrift store because it's got a pretty cover, and this isn't exactly the most common LMM book, so I thought it would make a neat prize even though it's not in perfect condition.

If you haven't read A Tangled Web, you can read my review of it here.

Enter Via This Widget:

Rules and Regulations:

This giveaway will end at 11:59pm EST on Friday, February 24, 2022. I'll draw seven winners on Saturday, February 25, and announce them here on my blog that day, as well as alert them by the email provided to the widget. Use an email address you check often! If I don't receive a response from a winner by Saturday, March 5, that winner will be disqualified and I'll draw another. 

This giveaway is open worldwide to anyone living in any country where the USPS delivers. I am not responsible for the activities of any postal service -- I will send off your prize in the condition shown above, but its arrival condition is not something I can control. 

To enter, must be 18+ or have parent's permission to provide a mailing address. Void where prohibited. Not affiliated with Blogger, Google, Etsy, or any of the shops listed here. I purchased all these prizes, they were not donated or solicited in any way. I will use your email and mailing addresses solely for the purpose of this giveaway. They will not be saved by me to use another way or provided to anyone else.

Once you've entered, come check out the official party tag in the kick-off post!

Friday, February 17, 2023

My Ten Favorite Alan Ladd Roles

Happy Alaniversary to me!  Seven years ago today, I fell hard for Alan Ladd, and I haven't recovered.  Nor do I want to ;-)  Today, I'm celebrating by sharing my ten favorite roles Ladd played.  I have seen about thirty of his movies (many of them over and over and over) by now, and reviewed nearly two dozen of them, but I've never really stopped to figure out who my favorite characters of his were, other than the top three, which I have long loved best.

It amuses me how differently things are ranked here from my Ten Favorite Alan Ladd Movies list and my Ten Favorite Alan Ladd Westerns list.  In fact, there are three characters on here whose stories don't appear on either of those lists!  So interesting how I can love a character more than the movie they're in, or a movie more than the characters in it.

1. Shane in Shane (1953)

Shane has so much dignity, grace, courage, integrity... it's no wonder that this performance is the one Ladd is remembered best for.  His past and future are mysteries, but we can tell he's haunted by his past, which clearly involved being a gunman.

2. Luke "Whispering" Smith in Whispering Smith (1948)

Luke Smith is a railroad detective, basically.  He's another upright, brave, uncompromising guy who puts others above himself and stands up for what's right even if it means great personal sacrifice.  It was watching Whispering Smith and Shane back-to-back that made me fall for Ladd in the first place :-)

3. Dan Holliday in Box 13 (1948-49)(radio show)

Holliday is a former newspaper reporter who decides to try writing fiction.  To get ideas for his stories, he puts an ad in the paper that says he's seeking adventure and will go anywhere and tackle any problem.  This leads to a whole lot of mysteries to solve, crimes to investigate, people to rescue, and other sundry adventures.  I've actually been a fan of this radio show longer than I've been a Ladd devotee!

4. Choya in Branded (1950)  

Choya is a drifting loner with a streak of decency.  Even when he's mixed up in something illegal, he ends up doing the right thing to help and protect others.  And standing up for others helps him realign his own moral compass in the process.

5. John Chandler in The Proud Rebel (1958)

Chandler is a kind, loving father who would do anything to help his young son be able to speak again.  He's a former Confederate soldier who lost everything but his son during the war, and his attempts to build a new life for them both are heart-melting.

6. Captain Webster "Web" Carey in Captain Carey, USA (1949)

Web Carey is a brave and honorable guy who believes he was betrayed by the woman he loved back when he was a spy during WWII.  When he discovers that everything he believed about that betrayal may have been a lie, he'll do whatever it takes to learn the truth.  Even if that might break his own heart all over again.

7. Thomas O'Rourke in Saskatchewan (1954)

O'Rourke was raised by Canadian Indians, but is now a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  He tries everything to keep peace between native tribes and white settlers, putting his own safety and reputation on the line repeatedly.

8. Dr. Merek Vance in And Now Tomorrow (1944)

Merek Vance is one of the characters Ladd played the most earlier in his career -- a cold, calculating man who is not interested in kindness or friendship or love... until he meets a girl who brings out the good parts of himself he's kept hidden inside.  In this case, he's actually a good guy, a philanthropic doctor who spends most of his time treating poor people who can't afford his treatments.  He just is more interested in science than his patients... until now...

9. Major Larry Briggs in Saigon (1947)

Briggs and his two pals, all ex-GIs, are only really interested in making money.  He definitely doesn't like or trust women, as you can see from the picture above.  He and his buddies are loyal to each other, but don't care much about anyone else until... 

10. Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1949)

Poor Jay Gatsby.  Hopeful, yearning, always reaching for what he can't have, never ready to give up on his great dream.  Betrayed, hurt, wistful... Gatsby is pretty much tailor-made for Alan Ladd to play.

This has been a really fun list to come up with, and I may have to do similar gatherings of favorite roles for other actors and actresses I love!  It's rather different from just "favorite films," and I like that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

"Tribute to a Bad Man" (1956)

It's Vic Morrow's birthday today :-D  To celebrate, I'm reviewing one of his earliest movies, Tribute to a Bad Man (1956).  Although Vic's role here is fairly small, it's quite pivotal.

The whole movie is an exploration of "what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36, NKJV)  I am peculiarly drawn to stories that explore that theme, for some reason.  Or maybe I'm drawn to storytellers who like that theme?  It definitely comes up over and over in movies and books that I enjoy.

Jeremy Rodock (James Cagney) has built himself a horse empire in Colorado.  He owns a whole valley, he's raised hundreds and hundreds of horses, and he's dedicated himself to keeping and protecting what is his.  If anyone tries to steal even one of his horses, Rodock strings them up to the nearest tree.  He goes into a kind of frenzy at the mere mention of horse rustlers.  These are his horses, and he's going to protect them however he has to, since there's no law closer than two hundred miles away.

Of course, in the actual Old West, horse theft was a crime that carried the death penalty.  With good reason.  If you stole a person's horse and left them on foot, in a lot of places out in the West, you were condemning them to a pretty cruel death.  And, with lawmen scattered very widely, and judges even more so, people did often have to kill to protect their horses and themselves.  In fact, nobody in this movie really questions Rodock's lawful right to hang horse thieves.

What they do question is what happens inside to a person who repeatedly hunts down and hangs (or shoots) people with no authority beyond his own determination.  Jeremy Rodock is a hard, anxious, lonely man for most of the film.  He was ranching partners with a guy named Peterson (James Bell) at one point, but broke up their partnership because Peterson was "too soft."  Rodock does have the companionship of a Greek woman named Jocasta (Irene Papas) who lives in his house because he offered her shelter when she needed it, but he always tells her she is free to come and go as she pleases, that he has no claim on her.  He also has a handful of wranglers working for him to help care for his herds of horses and so on, but they are only hired hands, not friends. 

Jocasta has fallen in love with Rodock, and she tries and tries to help him see how he's hollowing himself out with his fierce insistence on killing anyone who tries to steal his horses.  But he won't listen.  He's convinced this is what he has to do to protect what is his, and that his horses and his valley are more important than anything else.  Even himself.

Into this unhappy world rides a young man from Pennsylvania, Steve Miller (Don Dubbins).  All Steve wants is to be a cowboy, but he settles for horse wrangler when offered a job by Rodock.  Steve is immediately smitten with Jocasta, and Rodock's casual treatment of her upsets Steve, since he assumes she is a "kept woman" and doesn't really understand that what's keeping Jocasta at that ranch is her love for Rodock, not Rodock's desire or command.

Of course, some men soon try to steal a lot of Rodock's horses.  Unhappily, they're aided by his former partner, Peterson.  Peterson's resentful son Lars (Vic Morrow) blames Rodock's uncompromising behavior toward his father years ago for making their family poor.  Peterson winds up dead after an altercation between the horse thieves and Rodock's men, and Lars vows to get even.

Lars joins up with a disgruntled former employee of Rodock's and some random bad guys steal a whole herd of Rodock's brood mares and their colts.  Over Lars's protests, the other bad guys cripple the mares so they can't run back to their home range on Rodock's land.  

When Rodock finds them, he is irate over how they have tortured those horses -- and I completely sympathize with him there.  It's one thing to steal a horse, but to purposely maim it is a whole other level of evil.  

Lars doesn't plead for mercy.  He'll take whatever punishment Rodock metes out because he chose to help steal those horses.  You get the feeling he might be grieving so hard for his father that he might actually be subconsciously trying to commit suicide-by-rustling.

Steve Miller begs Rodock not to hang these men, but to take them to the fort two hundred miles away to face a judge for their crimes.  And Rodock decides that's just what he'll do, but with a little immediate punishment added in:  he makes Lars and the other two rustlers take off their boots and forces them to walk over the barren, hot, unforgiving Colorado land toward that fort.

If you need an actor to wordlessly convey deep physical suffering coupled with defiant resentment, Vic Morrow is your guy.  He exudes agony with every step of his unshod feet, stumbling and drifting from side to side.  Yet, at the same time, he retains a sort of petulant swagger, both with his body and face and with his sneering voice.  If Rodock is going to force Lars to walk bootless to face a judge, then Lars is going to stomp every single step of the way as if it's his own idea.  So there. 

Lars spurns help and scorns offers of mercy.  He keeps walking even after the other two men have collapsed and been loaded onto spare horses for the rest of the journey.  And his dedication to defying Rodock starts to remind Rodock of... himself.  He sees in this angry, stubborn, even petulant boy a mirror image of how he's been behaving for far too many years.

That realization is pivotal for the character and the film.  If you had cast anyone but Vic Morrow as Lars, I think the character would have come off like an an angry two-year-old being marched upstairs to take a bath.  But he somehow blends anguished sorrow over his father's death, defiant rage at this forced march, and withering pain until you just can't help but admire Lars.  And all of that with a very, very few lines of dialog.  It's no wonder Vic Morrow's star was rising -- this is only his second on-screen appearance, following Blackboard Jungle (1955), but he steals scenes from James Cagney with ease.  Repeatedly.  Of course, he'd been acting on stage for a while, which helped, I'm sure.

Anyway, everything ends well.  Lars doesn't even die, which is kind of a rarity for Vic's pre-Combat! roles.  Jeremy Rodock realizes he loves Jocasta, accepts her love, and sets off to start a new and different life together with her.  Love conquers all!  Even stubborn and angry hearts.

Is this movie family friendly?  Yeah.  The guys in the bunkhouse do obviously assume that Rodock an Jocasta are intimate, but you only see them kiss a couple times, and she has her own bedroom.  One of the wranglers talks about wanting a new mail order catalog because he hears they have pictures of women in corsets in them now.  The crippling of the horses might be hard on sensitive younger viewers, though.  There's a lynching, but the hanged man's head and torso are out of sight, you just see his dangling legs.  There are a couple of gunfights that result in deaths.  But it's all the very clean and almost bloodless kind of 1950s gunplay where everything is implied, not rubbed in your face.  There's no cussing that I recall.

I've tried to show off some of the gorgeous scenery this movie showcases.  It was largely shot outdoors in Colorado, and there's a majestic breadth to the landscape that sometimes almost overwhelms the characters.