USA Today - 06/14/2003
"...The movie has a place in the hearts of Wayne fans..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Katie Elder bore four sons. The day she is buried they all return home to Clearwater, Texas, to pay their last respects. John Wayne is the eldest and toughest son, the gunslinger. Tom (Dean Martin) is good with a deck of cards and good with a gun when he has to be. Matt (Earl Holliman) is the quiet one - nobody ever called him yellow...twice. Bud (Michael Anderson Jr.) is the youngest. Any hope for respectability lies with him. Directed by Henry Hathaway (True Grit), an acknowledged master of the Western, the story has a dual theme: not only is this a he-man's story, but it is also a drama of the maternal influence of Katie Elder, movingly portrayed from beginning to conclusion.
In this action-packed Western, three wandering sons return home to attend the funeral of their mother, Katie Elder, who's been murdered. The brothers then set their sights on the man responsible for her death, as well as for the death of their father, who was killed six months earlier. They receive help from a fourth brother, who has remained at home. However, getting revenge won't be easy because the culprit, who has also gained possession of the family's ranch, will do anything to stop them--including hiring an assassin to kill the oldest brother, John. This classic late-era John Wayne Western features a musical score that bears a suspicious resemblance to the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN theme. (Both were written by Elmer Bernstein.) Also starring in Henry Hathaway's excellent cast are Dean Martin, Earl Holliman, James Gregory, George Kennedy, and Dennis Hopper.
At their mother's graveside, four brothers make a pact to avenge her death. At the same time, some of the town toughs have other plans for them.