Charlie Anderson (Stewart) is a farmer in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. He regards the Civil War as "not his battle" -- he's against the war but also opposed to slavery -- and hopes to keep himself and his family out of it. But his daughter Jennie (Forsyth) marries a Confederate lieutenant (McClure), and the armies eventually tear through the valley. Worse, Charlie's youngest son gets captured by federal troops because he's wearing a Confederate cap, and Charlie (already mourning the recent death of his wife) must marshal the family to go find the boy, with tragic results. This 1965 film, the collaboration of director Andrew McLaglen and writer James Lee Barrett (who together would also do the equally solid "The Undefeated" with John Wayne and Rock Hudson a few years later) is an old-fashioned, BIG-lump-in-the-throat family epic that hints slightly of the era -- between the height of the civil rights movement and the growing war in Vietnam -- during which it was made. Stewart towers among an otherwise undistinguished cast and so-so script. Familiar faces Tim McIntire, George Kennedy, and Strother Martin turn up among the large supporting cast.
This report prepared by David Loftus