Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Home From the Hill (1960)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Home From the Hill (1960)

In director Vincente Minnelli's highly-stylized, widescreen CinemaScopic, romantic, coming-of-age melodrama set in the late 1950s in small-town Texas, about a dysfunctional western family:

  • the main characters: strident, arrogant, callous and authoritative town patriarch Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) - a philandering macho man with hunting guns and dogs and booze -- lovelessly married to aloof, angry, bitter, frigid, scornful and estranged, blue-eyed wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker), with an acknowledged, gullible and soft 17-year-old son Theron Hunnicutt (George Hamilton)
  • the early duck hunting scene when Wade was nearly killed (wounded) by irate, recently-married cuckolded husband John Ellis (Tom Gilson); Wade was saved by his loyal and ambitious hired ranch-hand Raphael "Rafe" Copley (George Peppard) who defensively pushed him away - revealed later to be Wade's unacknowledged illegitimate son (from a much earlier liaison with Ann Copley before marrying Hannah) and Theron's half-brother - establishing the fact that Wade had a well-known reputation for possessively womanizing most of the town's females
  • as Theron was about to turn 18, Wade (in his study with red leather sofas and dogs running about, and a shotgun in Theron's hands) worried about his son's lack of manliness; Wade's decision was to indoctrinate Theron into a macho lifestyle (hunting, drinking, etc) with the help of Rafe; he delivered a memorable speech to Theron: "I'm not sendin' you out for game. I'm not askin' you to go out and bring meat home for the table. What I'm talkin' about is comin' face to face with your own courage, your own cunning, your own endurance, because what every man hunts out there is himself...I had something from my father that his father gave to him. I'm gonna give it to you. It's late but it's not too late. You know one of these days, I'm gonna die, Theron. You're gonna come into 40,000 acres of land: cotton, beef, goats, timber. Takes a special kind of man to handle that. Kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets. No identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys 'cause you don't keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you. What I'm saying is, you're gonna have to stand up and be counted. You're gonna be known in these parts as a man or as a momma's boy"
  • Wade also expressed his worry about excessive coddling to Hannah and told her about Theron's reputation as a self-doubting Momma's boy: ("You've had him for seventeen years. Now I want him. I'm gonna take him out in the company of men. Whether you like it or not, Hannah, that's boy's gonna come of age...You can't stop me")
  • Rafe's words of advice to Theron: "You gotta learn to make out on your own. These tears and cryin' and carryin' on is a waste of time. Colored folks know that, and little white orphan boys gotta learn it too, so hitch up your pants and be a man. I never cried again where anyone could see me"
  • the exciting two-day pig-hunting chase sequence when Theron plunged into the swampy woods and finally killed a huge tusked wild boar on his own - proving his strength, masculinity, identity, and receiving his father's acceptance
  • the scene of Theron's growing friendship and eventual scheduled date (arranged by Rafe!) with tomboyish Elizabeth "Libby" Halstead (Luana Patten), the daughter of Albert Halstead (Everett Sloane), a local merchant-businessman - when Theron went to the door to pick up Libby to take her to a celebratory, coming-out pig-killing BBQ party, he was denied even entering by her raging and judgmental father, without an explanation (but obviously due to the reputation and history of infidelity of Wade)
  • Hannah's first cemetery encounter with Rafe at a pauper's burial ground where he was tending the gravesite of his own mother, Ann Copley; afterwards, Rafe walked along the riverside with a hoe over his shoulders (looking like a prisoner in stocks), and came upon Theron enjoying an amorous picnic scene with Libby at a secluded spot; afterwards they would engage in love-making
Rafe at Gravesite of His Mother
  • Theron's confusion and outrage upon learning from Hannah about his family's dysfunctionality and his father's past history of cheating: ("Everyone knows about your father...Oh, he's not the kind of a man you think he is. Why, there's hardly a woman in town whose name hasn't been linked with his at one time or another"), and the suggestion of his own cursed, passed-down tendency to continue his father's unfaithfulness; due to his emotionally-scarred upbringing, Theron retaliated by breaking up with Libby and swearing off marriage
  • the conflict between father and son -- after being told by Hannah that he was Rafe's half-brother, Theron challenged and confronted his father regarding Rafe: "I don't want any part of you....He's the best there is, and if you were any kind - if you were any kind of a man, you'd be proud of him and love him!" Wade countered: "His mother was a tramp, a sandhill tacky havin' her child by the edge of a ditch" - Theron renounced his father and moved away to take a job in a cotton mill
  • in a supermarket diner, the scene of Libby telling Rafe that he ought to be eating more healthy foods, followed by her tearful and despairing confession to him about feeling disgraced that she was pregnant with Theron's child; a compassionate Rafe was persuaded to marry Libby to legitimize her situation, and they became husband and wife
  • the scene of Wade shot to death in his home by a volatile, unseen intruder (revealed as Albert), who wrongly thought through town rumors that Libby's baby was actually Wade's; to seek revenge, Theron pursued Albert and gunned him down (in the same place that he shot the boar) - the killing was ruled self-defense; Theron then told Rafe that he could never face Libby again (after shooting her father) and departed from the town forever
  • in the final cemetery scene when Hannah was visiting Wade's gravesite, she met up with Rafe and showed him the headstone inscription that clearly acknowledged that Wade was the "beloved father" of two sons: Raphael and Theron; she accepted him as one of her own, and agreed to visit his son (actually Theron's) - her grand-son

Duck Hunting Accident

Wade with "Rafe"

Wade with Wife Hannah

Wade's Talk About Manliness with Son Theron

Theron's Killing of a Huge Boar


Theron's Love-Making with Libby

Hannah Describing Family's Past

Supermarket Diner Scene: Rafe with Libby Discussing Her Pregnancy by Theron


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