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Spencer’s Mountain (1963)

In the shadow of the mountain that bears the family name, hard-working Clay Spencer (Henry Fonda) strives to make a better life for his wife and nine children.

Although it was a considerable commercial success, Henry Fonda absolutely loathed this cosy melodrama, claiming it “damned near set film-making back 25 years”.

With Fonda playing the church-hating head of a Wyoming hill family, it’s not immediately apparent that Earl Hamner Jr’s novel also provided the inspiration for that enduringly popular TV show, The Waltons.

The connection becomes clearer as James MacArthur’s character Clayboy (rather than John Boy) struggles to choose between his education and his inheritance.

As mom and grandpa respectively, Maureen O’Hara and Donald Crisp provide expert support, and it all comes together under the watchful eye of director Delmer Daves.

Clay Spencer
Henry Fonda
Maureen O’Hara
Clayboy Spencer
James MacArthur
Grandpa Spencer
Donald Crisp
Preacher Goodson
Wally Cox
Claris Coleman
Mimsy Farmer
Miss Parker
Virginia Gregg
Grandma Spencer
Lillian Bronson
Dr Campbell
Whit Bissell
Col Coleman
Hayden Rorke
Minnie-Cora Cook
Kathy Bennett
Percy Cook
Dub Taylor
Mother Ida
Hope Summers
Mr John
Ken Mayer

Delmer Daves