The Winning of Barbara Worth
Poster - Winning of Barbara Worth, The 01 Crisco restoration.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry King
Written byFrances Marion
Based onThe Winning of Barbara Worth
by Harold Bell Wright
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
Edited byViola Lawrence
Music byTed Henkel
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • October 14, 1926 (1926-10-14) (USA)
Running time
  • 89 minutes
  • 9 reels, 8,757 ft
CountryUnited States
English intertitles

The Winning of Barbara Worth is a 1926 American silent Western film directed by Henry King, and starring Ronald Colman, Vilma Bánky and Gary Cooper (who replaced Monte Blue). Based on Harold Bell Wright's novel The Winning of Barbara Worth, the film is remembered for the climactic flood sequence, depicting the 1905 formation of the Salton Sea.


As a child, Barbara is orphaned when her settler parents perish trying to cross a California desert. She is rescued and raised by Jefferson Worth, who dreams of irrigating the desert. Fifteen years later, Willard Holmes, the chief engineer of a company intent on diverting the Colorado River to do just that, arrives and is smitten with Barbara. However, he has a rival for her affections: local cowboy Abe Lee, who realizes, toward the end of the picture, that Barbara's love for him will never be anything more than the love a sister feels for a brother. Willard Holmes's greedy employer, meanwhile, refuses to spend the money to reinforce his gigantic water project. This results in a catastrophic flood, the visual and dramatic highlight of the film. Barbara is impressed by Willard's heroism, and he promises to return to marry her after he has conquered the Colorado River and turned the desert into a bountiful paradise.



The movie was filmed in California's Imperial Valley and in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.[1][2][3]

Further reading


  1. ^ Earl, Phillip I. (Winter–Spring 1988). "The Story of the Making of The Winning of Barbara Worth". Humboldt Historian. Silents are Golden. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  2. ^ "The Winning of Barbara Worth". Silent Era. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  3. ^ Tipton, Ruth Fenstermaker (1976). "Desert Film City". In Paher, Stanley W. (ed.). Nevada Official Bicentennial Book. Las Vegas: Nevada Publications. p. 176. Retrieved July 27, 2018.