Philip Yordan wrote the screenplay based on the famous novel by Erskine Caldwell. Robert Ryan stars as Ty Ty Walden, a man obsessed with finding gold on his property. He is so obsessed that he has let everything else go. The farm is falling apart, he hasn't worked the land in almost a year and he is late getting his cotton crop in.
His two sons, Buck (Jack Lord) and Shaw (Vic Morrow) help him dig up his land, but are becoming disenchanted with their father's need to find the gold.
Into the mix is added Buck's beautiful wife Griselda (Tina Louise) whom everyone lusts after including a man named Will Thompson (Aldo Ray). Thompson is an alcoholic who has been laid off from the cotton mill when it closed down and is slowly destroying his life and that of his wife as well.
Pluto Swint (Buddy Hackett) is in love with Ty Ty's other daughter, Lil (Fay Spain) and this would be relationship also causes endless problems. The film works very well as a sordid melodrama about early 20th century southern living.
Director Mann, and writer Yordan bring out as much sex and lust as was allowable back in 1958 and this film caused quite a stir when first released. Aldo Ray and Tina Louise steal the show, but the performances by Lord and Ryan are a damn close second.
The rest of the cast includes Michael Landon, Lance Fuller, Rex Ingram and Helen Westcott. I really recommend this film as something totally different and slightly twisted.