A masterpiece, pure and simple. I saw "The Big Country" when It came out and I was in my very early teens. I thought it was over at the one hour thirty-nine minute mark; it was the longest motion picture I had ever seen. And I could not appreciate it at the time. Oh, I liked Peck's character very much but missed all the amazing nuances of the complex characters, for this is not only a Western but also a capital "R" Romance, a study in loyalties (most clearly seen in Heston's role. Is this his finest performance? Ives won the Oscar, and deservedly so, but Conners never again came close to the talent he showed as Buck, and Bickford crowned his long career in this triumphant human drama of love, family, power, blood, money and land. The true star of this wonderful motion picture is actually the title character: it is about "The Big Country". It is the West. It does not matter if it be Texas or Alberta; it could as easily have been oil rather than cattle (as was attempted not nearly so well in "Giant"); or it could have been gold (as in the inferior "Pale Rider"): Wyler here captures the essence of the West in a pre-Leone Shakespearean human epic of the West.