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Abraham "Ab" Cross is the main antagonist of Disney's 1970 live action film The Wild Country, which is based on the 1950 novel Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by the late Ralph Moody. He is a ruthless rancher who wants to drive the Tanner family out of their land by stealing their water.

He was portrayed by the late Morgan Woodward.

Biography

As the Tanner family begin to settle in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they discover that their water supply has been blocked by Ab Cross and are warned by Thompson and Two Dog to not go there.

When Cross' cows are found grazing in the Tanners' garden, Thompson and Two Dog help chase them away, and Jim, against Thompson's advice, decides to introduce himself to Cross. He and Virgil ride up the mountain to his ranch, but the Cross refuses to prevent his steers from grazing on Tanner land. Jim's threat to take Cross to court elicits laughter from Cross' men and Cross informs him that there are no laws or courts in their territory. Although Cross threatens to shoot him if he returns, Jim warns that his advice works both ways. In town, Jim asks Jensen how to reach the marshal. And although the shopkeeper advises him not to antagonize Cross, Jim posts a letter to the lawman with his complaint. Although Jim hopes the marshal will settle the problem before summer, Kate worries that Cross may be violent. With Thompson and Two Dog's help, Virgil tries to tame the mare.

During the next trip to town, Cross learns that Jim is contacting the marshal, so he tries to kill him. However, Jim fights back, eventually knocking Cross out, but suffers injuries that forces the family to return home hastily. Cross then orders his men to close the dam. When the Tanners realize that their irrigation ditch has gone dry, Jim, who has yet to receive word from the marshal, decides to ride out to meet him. Disregarding Jim's wishes, Virgil sneaks off to Cross' property and tries to unplug the dam. Jim follows to try to stop him, but father and son are discovered by Cross, who shoots Jim in the leg. Cross intends to kill Jim until one of his men convinces him to let them go.

After a tornado demolishes their barn, a man walks up and introduces himself as the marshal. After the marshal and Jim proceed to Cross' ranch and present him with a court order requiring that the dam be opened, Cross sullenly orders his men to unblock the dam, but refuses Jim's overtures of friendship. That night, when the Tanner family is celebrating, Cross sets their barn on fire. As they fight the flames, Cross emerges and begins to shoot at them. When Jim tries to retrieve his rifle from the house, Cross shoots him in the shoulder. As Kate and Andy run to help Jim, Virgil slips into the house to get the rifle, and when Cross aims at the unarmed Jim, Virgil shoots him dead. Later, Cross' men, who are repentant, promise to rebuild the barn, and Thompson and Two Dog come to help the Tanners as they carry Cross' corpse away.

Trivia

  • Cross is one of the few Disney villains to actually be killed by the main protagonist.

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