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A Cry in the Wilderness (1974)

The father of a wilderness family gets bitten by a skunk, and fearing rabies, chains himself to a barn to protect his family should he go mad. He orders his son not to come near him no ... See full summary »


Gordon Hessler


Stephen Karpf (teleplay), Elinor Karpf (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
George Kennedy ... Sam Hadley
Joanna Pettet ... Delda Hadley
Lee Montgomery ... Gus Hadley (as Lee H. Montgomery)
Collin Wilcox Paxton ... Bess Millard (as Collin Wilcox-Horne)
Roy Poole ... Rex Millard
Liam Dunn ... Mr. Hainie
Bing Russell ... Mr. Griffey
Irene Tedrow ... Old Woman
Anne Seymour ... Sam's Grandmother
Bob Hoy ... 1st Man
Robert Brubaker ... Doctor
Paul Sorensen Paul Sorensen ... Sam's Father
Troy Melton ... 2nd Man


The father of a wilderness family gets bitten by a skunk, and fearing rabies, chains himself to a barn to protect his family should he go mad. He orders his son not to come near him no matter how persuasive or rational his appearance or argument. However, the creek dries up, indicating an upstream blockage and an imminent flood. Several trips upstream by the son have failed to locate the blockage, and now Dad wants to be released. Written by Mousie-2

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Family Fights for Survival in the Oregon Wilderness









Release Date:

26 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Daikôzui: Dasshutsu panikku shi no tani See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Pepé Le Pew, what have you done!?!
16 January 2015 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Although not a great or particularly special movie, I'm still very ecstatic that I was able to watch "A Cry in the Wilderness". American TV-movies from the 1970's are quite difficult to find here in Europe and I absolutely wanted to see it because I'm a big fan of both lead actor George Kennedy and director Gordon Hessler. It's unnecessary to say that the film is quite flawed... More than half of the screenplay doesn't make sense and the characters do the dumbest things, but at least it's never boring (the film also only lasts barely 75 minutes) and benefices from beautiful locations. Just over one month ago, family man Sam Hedley moved with his foxy wife Delda (way too foxy for him, in fact, check out her bum) and 12-year-old son Gus from busy Chicago to an isolated farm somewhere in Oregon's middle of nowhere. Whilst working on his land, Sam gets bitten by an aggressive little skunk. Two weeks later he reads a medical book in bed and suddenly realizes the skunk was rabid and that the bite gave him rabies. And so Sam immediately does what every other loving family man would do: he chains himself in the bar and draws a forbidden entrance circle on the ground. Sam sends out his wife to seek help in a ramshackle truck and in a god-forsaken area that she doesn't know (always a great idea) and instructs his son not to obey his commands to let him loose. But later that day there suddenly is the threat of an all-destructive flood, and Sam begs Gus to break the chain so that they can evacuate the farm. Now the loyal little boy doesn't know what orders to obey anymore… One thing's for sure, "A Cry in the Wilderness" certainly doesn't promote life in the American countryside! During her desperate journey, poor Delda only encounters crazy old people, perverted hillbillies and extremely unhelpful neighbors. Furthermore there are several unintentionally hilarious and implausible sequences, including a vicious skunk-attack hallucination and Sam's bizarre childhood flashback shot in black and white. But, as said, the film is moderately entertaining and compelling enough as long as you're in an undemanding mood. George Kennedy is a hard-working and unpretentious actor who starred in massively budgeted blockbusters as well as in cheap B- movies or TV-productions. He depicts his character here with the same amount of devotion that he did for "Cool Hand Luke" or "Airport", for example. Gordon Hessler has always been a sadly underrated but extremely skillful director in the horror genre. He started out with a handful of very ambitious fright-tales, like "The Oblong Box" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue", but then from the seventies onwards specialized in less notable TV- work.

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