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Cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Son Joe takes responsibility for the raid and gets three years in prison. Matt dies from a stroke partly caused by his rebellious sons and when Joe gets out he plans revenge. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
After playing father and son in this film, Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner would be reunited two years later (playing brothers) in "The Mountain". See more »
When Matt is seen riding toward his sons off the side of the hill, he is sitting astride his horse, and his right hand is held up holding the reins, but when his son Ben takes him off his horse, he is already dead. See more »
He'll cool down... and when he does he'll make the deal. He's too smart not to. Ain't that right, Ben?
I don't know. But anybody that throws $10,000 in a spittoon makes me nervous.
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Broken Lance is a western remake of All My Sons which unfortunately does not live up to the original. A pity because the talented cast certainly worked hard in this film.
This is the second time that Spencer Tracy played a cattle baron, the first being in Sea of Grass. But he was far more sympathetic there than he is in Broken Lance. In both films he has family troubles and he's wrong in his solution in both.
He's got four sons, three by a wife who died two years after Tracy settled in the west and started building his cattle empire. Tracy remarries, this time to an Indian princess and has another son.
Maybe because his mother's still around, he favors his youngest son and just treats the others like garbage for no real reason. Maybe he just enjoys pitting Richard Widmark, Hugh O'Brian, and Earl Holliman against Robert Wagner for his own sadistic amusement. He also employs her relations as hands on the ranch so he has to keep good relations with the tribe, so he can't treat the youngest like the others.
But whatever reason you kind of understand where the other three are coming from. Even when Widmark later tells Tracy how he didn't enjoy having an Indian squaw for a step mom, the racism in the remark still doesn't tip it back to Tracy and Wagner. Wagner WAS his little pet as Widmark pointed out to him.
Plot begins with Wagner being released from prison after taking a fall for the father. As he decides his next move, the film unfolds in flashback.
A great cast here supports the Deveraux men. Katy Jurado as Wagner's mom is impressive in a thankless role, she loves her husband, but you can see she realizes the mess he's made of the family. Eduard Franz is a good as Robert Wagner's Indian relation and eventual life saver.
Think Bonanza and how much better Ben Cartright dealt with the issue of half siblings.
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