The Sons of Katie Elder, starring John Wayne and Dean Martin, VHS version
Four out of five stars
The story opens with the death of Katie Elder, a woman that was clearly beloved in the town of Clearwater, Texas. She has four sons, the three oldest have not made much of themselves in life. The eldest John, played by John Wayne, is a gunslinger and Tom, played by Dean Martin, is a shifty card player. Only the youngest appear to have a future, as Katie insisted that he go off to college.
All four men are at the funeral and they discover that the family ranch was lost by their father in a card game. They also discover that shortly after that he was shot in the back, murdered by persons unknown. The current owner of their ranch has hired a gunman as protection, leading to the obvious suspicion.
After hearing about the high regard their mother had in the town and how she often made up stories about the success of her boys, the oldest three brothers try to turn over a new leaf and retroactively make their mother proud. However, the circumstances force the events to unfold in a different manner. There are forces that work against the four men, leading to their having to fight to save their lives and reputations.
While the movie is good, the seemingly obligatory fight scene between the brothers that is meant to be humorous is not. It is dull, unnecessary and not all that well filmed. The dialog is also often very predictable, as is the next direction the plot takes. However, there is enough to make it a worthy viewing.