American Empire (December 11, 1942)
Released on December 11, 1942: Two men are determined to build the largest cattle empire in the nation.
Directed by William C. McGann
Written by Gladys Atwater, J. Robert Bren, and Ben Grauman Kohn.
The Actors: Richard Dix (Dan Taylor), Leo Carrillo (Dominique Beauchard), Preston Foster (Paxton Brice), Frances Gifford (Abigail 'Abby' Taylor), Robert Barrat (Crowder), Jack La Rue (Pierre, Beauchard henchman), Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (Sailaway), Cliff Edwards (Runty), Merrill Rodin (Paxton Bryce Jr.), Chris-Pin Martin (Augustin, Beauchard henchman), Richard Webb (Crane), William Farnum (Louisiana Judge), Etta McDaniel (Willa May), Hal Taliaferro (Malone), Ben Corbett (rider), Dick Dickinson (rider), James Ferrara (rider), Sam Flint (doctor), Homer Holcomb (rider), Charles Judels (storekeeper), Tom London (rider with Crowder's posse), Frank McCarroll (Crowder rider), Frank Mills (riverboat crewman), Nestor Paiva (defense attorney), Jack Rockwell (ranch hand), Jack Shannon (rider), Jimmy Shannon (rider), Earl Spainard (rider), Bob Woodward (rider).
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Richard Dix and Preston Foster are two riverboat captains that have made some good money hauling supplies for the Civil War, but now that the war is over, they need a new way to make a living. Preston Foster gets a big idea, bigger than his partner can even imagine, but this big idea propels them into a life that they couldn't have dreamed about a week earlier, and in this story, it came to him out of the blue. The two men build one of the biggest cattle ranches in Texas despite problems and enemies that will challenge them. Great story. The funny thing is, thousands of people have watched this movie and never thought that they also could get a big idea and create an amazing life from it. All of us have the same opportunity to think big and act big, but no one tells us exactly how to cultivate big ideas. School teachers don't tell us, our parents don't tell us, and our friends don't tell us. Until now. Here goes, if you have ears to hear.
I have carved an hour out of my day every morning that I use to meditate - that is, I clear my mind of my normal mental 'chatter' and I allow my mind to float into uncharted areas. I have learned amazing things during these periods that have helped me immensely as I chase my passion. Many mornings I will think of something that I should do differently, and almost always I soon discover that the new insight was exactly what I needed to do next. It is usually something that I have never done before, and would never have considered doing if it hadn't occurred to me during my times of meditation. As a preacher's son, brought up with a Bible background, I like to think that prayer is when I intentionally ask God for something, and intentionally thank Him for yesterday's blessings. Then I shut up and listen - that is my meditation - I clear my mind of all the normal chatter and just 'listen' - and that is when the Creator of the Universe plants wisdom in my head that I know could only have come from someone much smarter than me. The wisdom that I get is 'outside my box' thinking - stuff that I could never have imagined with the knowledge and environment that I have had so far. It is new, sometimes strange knowledge that is always infallibly correct and valuable to my progress. I don't mean strange as 'weird' - just that my background and education has never exposed me to some of the things that I now do with ease. The ideas are different - stuff I never learned at home or school, but should have.
For instance, here is a silly example that is exactly like what I can experience with daily meditation. Yesterday I watched "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" for the first time and in it one of the characters asked Alice to tell him which British King wore the largest shoes. Now almost everyone would ponder the question, reach back into school memories of their history class, and decide that they had no idea which King wore the biggest shoes. But there is an answer that is correct, and you have it inside you somewhere . . . it just needs to come out. The King who wore the biggest shoes was the King who had the biggest feet. Honest. True. Now this is a silly thing with no practical application, but meditation will bring out these kinds of answers - different ways to look at a problem and different solutions that will give you a path to take that no one else sees. If you study the lives of the great men who have advanced our world - the great thinkers, inventors, businessmen - you will find that an overwhelming majority of them mention at one time or another that they meditate on a regular basis. They sometimes call it something else, but they all find a 'quiet time' where they allow the daily distractions and problems to disappear as they free their mind to bring them new wisdom. Why not pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and before you start watching this exciting adventure, just sit quietly for a few minutes and stop all of the normal thoughts that race through your head so that a greater wisdom can get a word or two in. It might change your life forevermore!
Cliff Edwards and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Guinn Williams argues with Cliff Edwards
Cliff Edwards sings and plays guitar for Merrill Rodin
Etta McDaniel and Preston Foster
Frances Gifford and Preston Foster after the birth of their son Paxton Bryce Jr.
Frances Gifford in American Empire
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams rustles a small cow
Jack La Rue as Pierre one of Beauchard's henchmen
Leo Carrillo as Dominique Beauchard promises revenge after being dumped into the river.
Leo Carrillo stands trial for rustling cattle
Preston Foster, Frances Gifford and Richard Dix look over some property that they plan to purchase
Preston Foster and Frances Gifford
Preston Foster and Leo Carrillo
Preston Foster discovers that Leo Carrillo has been rustling cattle from him for years
Richard Dix in American Empire, 1942
William Farnum as the judge in American Empire