Woman of the North Country (1952)

90 mins | Melodrama | 5 September 1952

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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were Minnesota , The Iron Master and Woman of the Wilderness . The film opens with the following written prologue: "1890 The forested desolation of northeastern Minnesota." According to Apr and Jul 1951 HR news items, Republic shot much of the action in Minnesota's Mesabi Mountain region. A clip from Woman of the North Country was to be televised on Hollywood Feature Story , according to an Aug 1952 HR news ... More Less

Working titles for the film were Minnesota , The Iron Master and Woman of the Wilderness . The film opens with the following written prologue: "1890 The forested desolation of northeastern Minnesota." According to Apr and Jul 1951 HR news items, Republic shot much of the action in Minnesota's Mesabi Mountain region. A clip from Woman of the North Country was to be televised on Hollywood Feature Story , according to an Aug 1952 HR news item. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Aug 1952.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Aug 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1951
p. 9, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 52
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Aug 52
p. 1470.
New York Times
30 Aug 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"(Fifteen Mile on the) Erie Canal," words and music by Thomas S. Allen
"The Blue-Tailed Fly," traditional.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Minnesota
The Iron Master
Woman of the Wilderness
Release Date:
5 September 1952
Premiere Information:
Duluth, MN opening: 23 July 1952
Minneapolis, MN opening: 24 July 1952
New York opening: 29 August 1952
Production Date:
began 3 December 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 July 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1988
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Trucolor
Duration(in mins):
90
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15719
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1890, the Powells are the ironmasters of Minnesota. Although eldest son David inherited management of the family business, daughter Christine has the shrewdest business mind and conspires to take over. She is backed by their brother Steve, who recently masterminded a train robbery that ended in murder, and the local banker, John Mulholland, who hopes for Christine's love in return. Confident that her power play has not offended the visiting Henry S. Chapman of Pittsburgh, whose steel company is their biggest account, Christine smugly tells him she will extend the company's mining operations to the Mesabi area, which she plans to grab when the abandoned lease, owned by the deceased Professor Ramlo, runs out in two weeks. Her plans are altered when she discovers that Ramlo's son Kyle is working the claim. She sends Steve and his ruffian gang to intimidate Kyle's group by setting fires to their camp and engaging them in a nocturnal gun battle. Steve leaves behind a tell-tale cartridge from his German-made gun, which is found by the old Swede, Axel Nordlund, a family friend who works for Kyle. With the assistance of his sweetheart Cathy, Axel's daughter, Kyle determines that the ore on his property lies near the surface and is especially rich. To finance replacement of equipment destroyed in the fire, Kyle goes to Duluth to offer the Powells a partnership in his mine, but is sent away without an interview. He stubbornly waits, until he encounters Christine at the hotel where she is attending a party. Unaware that she is the company's real power, he explains his offer, while she pretends barely to understand. She then invites him into the party, ... +


In 1890, the Powells are the ironmasters of Minnesota. Although eldest son David inherited management of the family business, daughter Christine has the shrewdest business mind and conspires to take over. She is backed by their brother Steve, who recently masterminded a train robbery that ended in murder, and the local banker, John Mulholland, who hopes for Christine's love in return. Confident that her power play has not offended the visiting Henry S. Chapman of Pittsburgh, whose steel company is their biggest account, Christine smugly tells him she will extend the company's mining operations to the Mesabi area, which she plans to grab when the abandoned lease, owned by the deceased Professor Ramlo, runs out in two weeks. Her plans are altered when she discovers that Ramlo's son Kyle is working the claim. She sends Steve and his ruffian gang to intimidate Kyle's group by setting fires to their camp and engaging them in a nocturnal gun battle. Steve leaves behind a tell-tale cartridge from his German-made gun, which is found by the old Swede, Axel Nordlund, a family friend who works for Kyle. With the assistance of his sweetheart Cathy, Axel's daughter, Kyle determines that the ore on his property lies near the surface and is especially rich. To finance replacement of equipment destroyed in the fire, Kyle goes to Duluth to offer the Powells a partnership in his mine, but is sent away without an interview. He stubbornly waits, until he encounters Christine at the hotel where she is attending a party. Unaware that she is the company's real power, he explains his offer, while she pretends barely to understand. She then invites him into the party, where he makes a good impression on Mr. Chapman, but drops his guard by intimating to her that he possesses $20,000 to pay the lease. Later, in Kyle's darkened hotel room, Steve robs Kyle, but loses his gun in the skirmish. The next day, Kyle learns from a gunsmith that the unusual German gun belongs to Steve, and although he can believe Steve's involvement in the fires, gunfight and robbery, Kyle is reluctant to think that Christine is also involved, as Cathy suggests. When Christine snubs him, having achieved her objective, he is determined to get his money back, and follows when she rides out to warn Steve. However, the observant Christine lets him catch up, and in an angry exchange of words, she insists she is the kind of woman he has always wanted. He retaliates by forcing a kiss, saying she asked for it. After leaving her, Kyle pushes a boulder onto the cabin hideout of Steve's gang as they wait to ambush him, and then kills Steve in a shootout. Searching Steve's body for his stolen wallet, Kyle finds a wanted poster for the train robbery and making the connection, collects the $25,000 reward. With the money, he starts his mining company and Chapman contracts with him instead of the Powells. After Kyle develops an idea to use a steam-shovel for mining shallow ore deposits, his company flourishes, but Kyle, working long and hard, becomes vengeful. Seeing the Powells' empire declining, he leases property that blocks their wagon train right-of-way and destroys the ailing company. Neglected by Kyle, Cathy perceives that his need for revenge is fueled by insecurity over an infatuation with Christine. Meanwhile, Christine, in reduced circumstances, plans a revenge of her own with the loyal Mulholland, promising she will be with him when she succeeds. She woos Kyle by claiming newfound sincerity, and Kyle succumbs. During Kyle and Christine's European honeymoon, Mulholland replaces Axel, who quit, with Turner, who sees that production levels drop. Then, to distract the miners from their jobs, Mulholland sets up an alcoholic, O'Hara, with a saloon near Kyle's property. When Kyle returns, he fires Turner, doubles production to meet deadlines and bans the miners from the saloon. When the men, whose loyalty is really to Axel, grudgingly comply, O'Hara, at Christine's direction, repeatedly blocks the roads to town, causing shipment delays. Mulholland then offers Kyle a loan, using the Mesabi claim as collateral, to build railroad tracks from the mine to the Duluth docks, while Christine pretends to oppose over-expansion. Their psychological tactics work and Kyle builds the railroad. However, on the train's first run, three days before Kyle's note to Mulholland is due, O'Hara and his men dynamite a railroad trestle. Cathy sees them and recognizing O'Hara, tells Axel, who guesses that Mulholland and Christine are sabotaging Kyle. Meanwhile, Kyle makes brave plans to start over, but Christine triumphantly taunts him, admitting how she schemed for two years to take over his company. She says she is divorcing him to marry Mulholland, who will foreclose in forty-eight hours. Defeated, Kyle strikes her and returns to the mine, where Axel has convinced the men quickly to rebuild the trestle in time for Kyle to pay off Mulholland. Later, discussing the failed scheme with Mulholland, who she believes will always do as she bids, Christine says that she is returning to her husband. At a public assembly held in Kyle's honor, she begs her husband to return to her, confident that he will. Before Kyle can respond, Mulholland shoots her and as she dies she claims that she really loves Kyle. Finally free from Christine, Kyle reunites with Cathy and their future together looks bright. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.