American Playhouse (1980–1994)
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On a hot day in Texas in the the 1890s, a stranger shows up at the small dairy farm of Royal and Ellie Thompson. He asks for work and is hired. He's a taciturn, English-speaking Swede from ... See full summary »


Michael Fields


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Ward ... Royal Earle Thompson
Stellan Skarsgård ... Olaf Helton
Pat Hingle ... Homer T. Hatch
Jon Cryer ... Teenage Herbert
Roberts Blossom ... Mr. McClellan
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Tom Allbright
Lise Hilboldt ... Ellie Thompson
Brent Hadaway Brent Hadaway ... Teenage Arthur
Adam Faraizl Adam Faraizl ... Young Arthur
James Gammon ... Sheriff
Wayne Tippit ... Mr. Burleigh
Enrique Brown Enrique Brown ... Young Herbert
Billie Keller Billie Keller ... Mrs. McClellan
Shawn Sattler Shawn Sattler ... McClellan Boy
Jerry Biggs Jerry Biggs ... Mr. Manning


On a hot day in Texas in the the 1890s, a stranger shows up at the small dairy farm of Royal and Ellie Thompson. He asks for work and is hired. He's a taciturn, English-speaking Swede from North Dakota; he's competent, strong, and good at farming and dairying. The years pass, the farm flourishes. Then one day a second stranger, also from North Dakota, Homer Hatch, arrives and lives are changed in ways no-one could have imagined. Written by Eileen Berdon <>

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Version of ABC Stage 67: Noon Wine (1966) See more »

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Thought provoking adaptation
2 August 2004 | by artzauSee all my reviews

Katherine Ann Porter's short story about a poor farmer who takes on a fugitive as his hired man has a number of complexities which can provoke discussions for years. There is an earlier version with Jason Robards, Olivia DeHavilland and Theodore Bikel which captures the theme of the story but comes out a bit stodgy in spite of the cast. This feature with Fred Ward, Stellan Skarsgård, Pat Hingle and the very beautiful and talented Lise Hilboldt captures much of the shadow nuances of Porter's original work.

Ward is especially effective as the turn of the century farmer whose life is transformed by the mysterious Swede who won't talk, works like a horse and plays the harmonica. Skarsgård, seen recently as the brutal Saxon king in the revisionist King Arthur, is superb as the taciturn Swede. Great support comes from veteran character actor, Pat Hingle,as the villainous bounty hunter and craggy, James Gammon as the sheriff. But, the bright light is the delicate but solid performance of Lise Hilboldt, as the wife who is caught in the middle of mixed feelings about the mysterious Swede, her marriage to her mercurial husband and her own conflicts.

As looking at a slice of life in desolate, South Texas, this little film works. I suppose the amazing thing is that it is a made for TV movie that has some substance-- considering that 90% of what is viewed on TV is pure garbage and the remaining 10% is on its way to becoming garbage. So, how did a thoughtful, provocative film like this make it through? Amazing. Simply amazing.

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Release Date:

21 January 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In der Mittagsglut See more »

Filming Locations:

Fredericksburg, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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