Guns of the Timberland
Guns of the Timberlands.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert D. Webb
Written byJoseph Petracca
Aaron Spelling
Based onGuns of the Timberlands
1955 novel
by Louis L'Amour
Produced byAaron Spelling
Alan Ladd
StarringAlan Ladd
Jeanne Crain
Gilbert Roland
Frankie Avalon
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Edited byTom McAdoo
Music byDavid Buttolph
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 1, 1960 (1960-02-01)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

Guns of the Timberland is a 1960 American Technicolor lumberjack Western film directed by Robert D. Webb and starring Alan Ladd, Jeanne Crain, Gilbert Roland and Frankie Avalon.


Logger Jim Hadley and his lumberjack crew are looking for new forest to cut. They locate a prime prospect outside the town of Deep Wells. The town's residents, led by Laura Riley, are opposed to the felling of the trees, believing that losing them would cause mudslides during the heavy rains.




Louis L'Amour's novel Guns of the Timberlands was published in 1955 and sold more than one million copies.[1] Alan Ladd's film production company Jaguar optioned the novel that same year.[2][3] The working title for the film was "Shasta."[4]

In 1957, it was announced the film would be produced from a script by David Victor and Herbert Little, with Albert J Cohen as producer.[5] Ladd had worked with Aaron Spelling on two TV pilots, and Spelling's work so impressed Ladd that he made Spelling a producer on the picture.[6] Robert Webb was signed to direct.[7]

Ladd offered a lead role to Van Heflin, hoping to reunite with his costar from Shane.[8] He also wanted to cast Raymond Burr.[9] Jeanne Crain and Gilbert Roland were signed to support Ladd, along with the Ladds' daughter Alana.

Frankie Avalon, following his recent hit single Venus, signed to make his dramatic debut in the film.[10] Avalon later said, "I'm sure the reason why Warner Bros. said, 'Let's get this kid' is that he has lots of fans out there and he's getting 12,000 to 15,000 fans letters a week. 'Let's put him in a picture with a guy like Alan Ladd'."[11] Avalon's performance led to his casting in The Alamo.[11]


Filming started in April 1959[12] on location in and around Blairsden, California, Graeagle, California and other locations throughout Plumas County.[13] The scenes involving the steam engine and railroad cars were shot on the Western Pacific Railroad right-of-way. The scene in which the steam engine goes over the tall "bridge" pictured the Clio Trestle.

Filming finished in June 1959.[14]


In the film, Avalon sings two songs, "The Faithful Kind" and "Gee Whiz Whillikins Golly Gee." Both were released as a 45-rpm single in 1960.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Fraser, C Gerald (May 28, 1975). "How An Author's Pen Wins West - How a Best-Selling Author Wins With Westerns". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Don'ts for Horse Operas Stressed: Write for the Experts, Says Best-Selling Louis L'Amour" Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 01 July 1958: C9.
  3. ^ Dorothy Kilgallen: "Friends Think Bing May Wed Kathy" The Washington Post and Times-Herald [Washington, D.C] 25 Nov 1955: 37.
  4. ^ "Guns of the Timberland: Notes at TCM.COM". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  5. ^ "Movieland Events: 'Guns of Timberland' on Active Schedule" Los Angeles Times 3 Apr 1957: B8.
  6. ^ "Borgnine Takes a Script to Carolyn Jones' Home" Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 17 Mar 1959: b7.
  7. ^ "Alan Ladd Film Names Director: Robert Webb Is Signed for 'Guns of Timberland' -- Columbia Adds Writers" Special to The New York Times.. New York Times 24 Mar 1959: 45
  8. ^ "A.F.L. Unit Urges Boycott of Film: Council Says 'Daniel Boone' Was Made Outside U.S. to Flout Union Control Of Local Origin" by Thomas M Pryor Special to The New York Times.. New York Times 13 Feb 1956: 24.
  9. ^ "Drama: Joanne Woodward's Pact Continued" Los Angeles Times 25 Jan 1956: 20.
  10. ^ "Filmland Events: Fred MacMurray Offered New Lead" Los Angeles Times 7 Apr 1959: A8.
  11. ^ a b King, Susan (7 January 2003). "The reluctant Angel". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ "THALBERG AWARD TO JACK WARNER: Studio President Cited for High Quality of Movies--Ladd's Co-Stars Named" (PDF). The New York Times. March 26, 1959. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  13. ^ "Epodunk Quincy Community Profile, Filming location for 1960 movie, Guns of the Timberland". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1959