(director: Henry King; screenwriter: Rupert Hughes/from the novel by Harold Bell Wright/Frances Marion; cinematographers: Gregg Toland/George Barnes; editor: Viola Lawrence; music: Ted Henkel; cast: Gary Cooper (Abe Lee), Ronald Colman (Willard Holmes), Vilma Banky (Barbara Worth), Paul McAllister (The Seer), E.J. Ratcliffe (James Greenfield), Charles Lane (Jefferson Worth), Erwin Connelly (Pat Mooney), Clyde Cook (Tex); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Goldwyn; MGM; 1926-silent)

It wowed audiences in its day, mainly because of the exciting climax flood sequence.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A tumultuous soap opera romancer about the building of a dam on the Colorado River, whereby a heated romance develops between rivals for the attractive eligible local gal. In the desert (filmed in Nevada), the step-daughter, Barbara Worth (Vilma Banky), of a forthright landowner, Jefferson Worth (Charles Lane), who was adopted by him when she was an orphan, is romanced by her father’s dependable ranch foreman Abe Lee (Gary Cooper). Things change when the shady NYC wealthy banker (E.J. Ratcliffe) loans Mr. Worth money to partner with him on his ranch communities needed dam project to irrigate the arid land. The developer’s foster child son, the dam engineer Willard Holmes (Ronald Colman), works on the dam and competes romantically for Barbara with the cowboy.

It wowed audiences in its day, mainly because of the exciting climax flood sequence. The flood was caused by the greedy developer only caring about his profits and short-changing the building of the dam. Unfortunately, the local ranchers blame Worth for selling them out to the venal bankers, and vow to lynch him unless he repairs the damage.

Director Henry King (“Carousel”/”Tender is the Night”/”Twelve O’Clock High”) bases the film on the best-seller by Harold Bell Wright. Writers Frances Marion and Rupert Hughes keep the romance part perking. Producer Sam Goldwyn pumped a lot of money into this project and it showed with excellent production values. It’s also the first credited film role of Hollywood legend Gary Cooper.

The Winning of Barbara Worth Poster