Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
The Elder boys return to Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral. John, the eldest, is a well-known gunfighter and trouble follows him wherever he goes. The boys try to get their ranch back from the town's gunsmith who won it from their father in a card game, after which he was murdered. Troubles come, however, just because they carry the Elder name.Written by
From the four winds four brothers came Their eyes smoking and their fingers itching
Katie Elder bore four sons The day she was buried they all return to the Texas town of Clearwater to pay their last respects
John (John Wayne) is the oldest, the toughest, the gunfighter Texas, its bigness and its violence echoes in his empty soul Tom (Dean Martin) is a different breed of hombre He is good with a deck of cards and good with a gunwhen he has to be Matt (Earl Holliman) is the quiet one Nobody ever called him yellowtwice Bud (Michael Anderson, Jr.) is the youngest, but he is the rebel one...
At the funeral are Sheriff Billy Wilson (Paul Fix) and his grim young deputy, Ben Latta (Jeremy Slate) who's real conscientious about his job Also at the burial, in addition to many townspeople, is the young Mary Gordon (Martha Hyer), the woman who tries the impossible
Mary visits the four brothers, brings them food, and is sardonic about their desertion of their mother Only Bud, who has been going to college, shows a possibility of becoming a fine, respecting young man
As the brothers investigate into the past and present circumstances of their mother's life, they find the old place is no longer hers and that she was penniless
John discovers that his father supposedly gambled away the ranch when he was pretty drunk and that on the same night he was shot in the back The only witnesses are Morgan Hastings (James Gregory) and his son Dave (Dennis Hopper) The sheriff warns the Elders to stop digging around and to stay out of trouble
Realizing that the only tribute to Ma Elder would be for Bud to finish college, the brothers pledge themselves to that cause Yet they feel the loss of the ranch was under peculiar circumstances, they decide to find out the truth
Henry Hathaway was one of the great versatile directors whose Westerns have been as variable in quality as his other films
Hathaway's strong points were atmosphere, character and authentic locations In "The Sons of Katie Elder" he took particular care with locations, proud of the fact that he is one of the few directors who handle their own second-unit work, and when this element combines successfully with the other two the result can be impressive indeed
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