The Sons of Katie Elder


The Sons of Katie Elder

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,140
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Movie Info

Henry Hathaway directs the 1965 psychological Western The Sons of Katie Elder. Four sons reunite in their Texas hometown to attend their mother's funeral. John (John Wayne) is the gunfighter, Tom (Dean Martin) is the gambler, Matt (Earl Holliman) is the quiet one, and Bud (Michael Anderson Jr.) is the youngest. They soon learn that their father gambled away the family ranch, leading to his own murder. The brothers decide to find their father's killer and get back the ranch, even though they are discouraged to do so by local Sheriff Billy Wilson (Paul Fix). When the sheriff turns up dead, the Elder boys are blamed for the murder. Deputy Sheriff Ben Latta (Jeremy Slate) joins forces with the only witnesses of the murder: Morgan Hastings (James Gregory) and his son Dave (Dennis Hopper). A gunfight breaks out between the Hastings gang and the Elder gang. After his brother Matt is killed, John decides to settle the ranch dispute in a court of law with a judge (Sheldon Allman). However, Tom decides to take matters into his own hands by kidnapping Dave. After the final climactic gunfight, John and the wounded Bud retreat to a rooming house owned by Mary Gordon (Martha Hyer). ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

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John Wayne
as John Elder
Dean Martin
as Tom Elder
Earl Holliman
as Matt Elder
Martha Hyer
as Mary Gordon
Jeremy Slate
as Deputy Sheriff Ben Latta
James Gregory
as Morgan Hastings
Paul Fix
as Sheriff Billy Wilson
Dennis Hopper
as Dave Hastings
Sheldon Allman
as Judge Harry Eyers
John Litel
as Minister
John Doucette
as Undertaker Hyselman
James Westerfield
as Banker Vannar
Rhys Williams
as Charlie Bob Striker
John Qualen
as Charlie Biller
Rodolfo Acosta
as Blondie Adams
Rodopho (Rudy) Acosta
as Blondie Adams
Percy Helton
as Storekeeper Peevey
Karl Swenson
as Doc Isdel/Bartender
Loren Janes
as Ned Reese
James Loren
as Ned Reese
Boyd 'Red' Morgan
as Burr Sandeman
Ralph Volkie
as Bit Man
Jack Williams
as Andy Sharp
Henry Wills
as Gus Dolly
Joe Yrigoyen
as Buck Mason
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Critic Reviews for The Sons of Katie Elder

All Critics (11)

Audience Reviews for The Sons of Katie Elder

  • Oct 28, 2013
    40 years before John SIngleton loosely adapted it to a modern urban setting, Henry Hathaway delivered a story about 4 estranged brothers who reunite after a long period of absence to attend the funeral of their beloved mother. While in town, they learn of shady business considering their late mother's ranch, as well as the murder of their father a few years prior. Unwilling to live and let live, the four set out to make things right, the only way they know how: forcefully. Even though I did find things to like about this movie, in the end, I feel like it's really not all that special, and basically just a routine John Wayne movie. There's nothing really wrong with that, but he did so many films like this that it basically just ends up as something rather unremarkable. It's a bit shaky and uneven, a tad overlong, and even a touch boring at times, and, Elmer Bernstein's score sounds too similar to his work for The Magnificent Seven for my liking, but, John Wayne and Dean Martin do serviceable work as the two oldest Elder brothers, and they have good chemistry with one another, so that helps. A young Dennis Hopper also appears, which is cool, too. The film is decently well shot, and does have it's occasional rousing moments, but in the end, I personally prefer John Singleton's Four Brothers. It's glossier, more entertaining, and more compelling.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2011
    It's really uneven at times, and has very shaky third act with a poor ending. Still, I think John Wayne does some of the finest acting I've seen from him yet in this film.
    Dillon L Super Reviewer
  • May 03, 2011
    Dean Martin as The Duke's brother?!? Admit it ... it's not the first casting choice anyone would make, but Dino finds his way in this tale of 4 wayward brothers who come home to try to make things right by Ma even if it kills them. Stay with it because it builds momentum after a slow start.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 03, 2010
    Four brothers meet up after their mother's funeral but they are surprised to learn that Katie was left no money from the sale of their family ranch and that she ended her days doing odd jobs to earn money for her keep. To make things worse the man who now owns their land frames them for a crime which they didn't commit and turns the entire town against them. A classic western theme strengthened by the presence of John Wayne, Dean Martin, George Kennedy and Dennis Hopper.
    Deb S Super Reviewer

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