The Sky Pilot

When a preacher is sent to a godforsaken northern town and holds services in a saloon, he has to use his boxing skills to be accepted as a friend by ranch foreman Bill. But after the initial dust-up, the cowboy and the “sky pilot” become the best of friends; it turns out the padre has a deft hand at cattle herding as well. The two soon have to deal with a neighbour who is plotting to steal his employer’s cattle. Then they have to watch as Bill’s girlfriend, cowgirl Gwen, is badly injured in a stampede. A trusty Colt takes care of the cattle rustler, but healing the crippled cowgirl will require faith in God … Produced by Cathrine Curtis, one of Hollywood’s first female producers, The Sky Pilot combines action with serious soul-searching. King Vidor contrasted the natural beauty of the California locations with dramatic images of a cattle stampede and, in the end, the young cowgirl and a Native American servant emerge as the true heroes of this unusual snowbound western. During the shoot, the director ran through a lot of table salt, which served as cheap fake snow, and then his own money, before he and the actors were paid.
by King Vidor
with John Bowers, Colleen Moore, David Butler, Harry Todd, James Corrigan, Donald MacDonald, Kathleen Kirkham
USA 1921 English intertitles 74’ Black/White & Tinting


  • John Bowers
  • Colleen Moore
  • David Butler
  • Harry Todd
  • James Corrigan
  • Donald MacDonald
  • Kathleen Kirkham


Director King Vidor
Screenplay John McDermott, Faith Green
Story Ralph Connor The Sky Pilot. A Tale of the Foothills (1899)
Cinematography Gus Peterson
Producer Cathrine Curtis

Produced by

Cathrine Curtis Corp.

Additional information

DCP: Library of Congress, Washington, DC

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020