Cast & Crew
"Teddy" Connor, a woman recently orphaned, leaves her uncle's Midwestern farm for Chicago, where she meets "lumber king" John Meade. John takes her in for a hot meal and sends her roses the next day. John is engaged to penniless society beauty Caroline Haig, who is in love with Rodney Bentley and is marrying John for his money. A jovial millionaire without a conscience, John orders his long-time employee, Tim Mathews, to report to Chicago from the lumber mills and announces he is leaving the lumber business for wheat. Although Tim insists they reforest their lumber lands, John ignores his plea. For laughs, John invites Teddy and Tim to his engagement party at Caroline's wealthy friend's estate. Teddy, realizing John is engaged to a woman who does not love him, drowns her tears in liquor and embarrasses Caroline. On the day of their wedding, John exposes Caroline's duplicity and proposes to Teddy to spite Caroline, then deserts and later divorces her. Although Tim proposes, Teddy tells him she is going back to the farm. Successful in his new business venture, John continues to repossess farms in the drought-ridden Midwest. Meanwhile, Teddy organizes the farmers to fight John and becomes a local heroine. John arrives as the farmers burn an effigy of him, then attack him, but are beaten by John's thugs. When John asks the governor to send out the militia, the governor replies that Nature has called out her own militia, the Dust Bowl, to clear John out because he took away the trees that bind the soil. Just as the farmers encroach on John with farm weapons, a dust storm blows, causing chaos. John rescues Teddy, swears his love, and asks her to help him become a new man, just as a crazed farmer shoots him. Teddy, unaware that John has been hit, refuses his love, but when he falls, dying, she finally says "I love you."
B. P. Schulberg
This film's working title was A Man and a Woman. Although in the final scene of the viewed print, John falls and the implication is that he dies, the Film Daily review for the preview states that after John is shot down, Teddy nurses him back to health, and he agrees to help the farmers. The "Showmen's Review" in Motion Picture Herald states that Tim dies trying to save John's life; although in the viewed print, Tim tries to protect John from the attacking farmers, he is not killed on the screen. The film May have been cut following early reviews, or the ending May be open to interpretation. According to a February 4, 1937 news item in Hollywood Reporter, the release of this film, originally scheduled for later in the month, was advanced to the following week because of the timeliness of the deforestation theme of the picture. Prints were scheduled to be shipped following the 8 February preview. Although the film was screened in New York the week of 17 Feb, Motion Picture Herald release charts list the general release date as February 26, 1937. Hollywood Reporter announced on February 6, 1937 that several added scenes were being shot on the Ohio flood. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, John Trent, a former captain pilot for TWA, made his film debut in the film "without acting experience." In 1939, Trent starred in Monogram Pictures' "Tailspin Tommy" series. For more information, consult the Series Index. The independent film Love Takes Flight, released August 13, 1937, was reportedly based in part on John Trent's ascent in Hollywood (see below). This film marks stage actress Francine Larrimore's first starring screen role. She was the sister of Luther, Stella and Celia Adler, the noted stage family.