- Directors: George Stevens
- Producers: George Stevens
- Writers: Edna Ferber, Fred Guiol, Ivan Moffat
- Genres: Drama, Romance, Western
- Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean
Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson), the head of the rich Benedict ranching family of Texas, goes to Maryland to buy a stud horse, War Winds. There he meets and courts the socialite Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor), who becomes his wife. They return to Texas to start their life together on the family ranch, Reata. Luz (Mercedes McCambridge), Bick’s sister, and Leslie don’t get along. Jett Rink (James Dean) the family handyman, is envious of the Benedict wealth and flirts with Leslie.
Luz dies after War Winds bucks her off, and as part of her will, Jett is given a plot of land within the Benedict ranch. Bick tries to buy back the land, but Jett refuses. Jett keeps the fenced off waterhole as his home and names the property Little Reata. Leslie eventually gives birth to twins, Jordan Benedict III (Dennis Hopper), or Jordy, and Judy Benedict (Fran Bennett), and a younger daughter named Luz Jr (Carroll Baker).
Jett discovers oil on his property, and when he gets his first gusher, he barges onto the Benedicts’ property proclaiming in front of the entire family that he will be richer than the Benedicts. Bick and Jett have a fistfight and Jett runs off.
A major sub-plot of the movie is the racism against Mexican Americans in Texas. When the movie starts, Bick and Luz are racist towards the Mexicans who work on their ranch, which shocks Leslie. By the end of the movie, though, Bick realizes the wrongs of racism and defends his daughter-in-law and grandson, Juana and Jordan Benedict IV, respectively and earns Leslie’s respect.