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A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an enormous panther with seemingly mythical qualities which is killing cattle. An arrogant, pitiless son (Robert Mitchum) and a rigid pharisaic mother side against a moral eldest son and and a defeated alcoholic father while the youngest son tries to lay low, hoping against hope to persuade his family to allow him to marry a girl he has brought to visit. The girl however draws venomous condemnation and the two elder brothers set out in the midst of a violent snowstorm on a dangerous mission to kill the deadly panther. Written by
I've just seen "Track of the Cat" (1954) on TCM. Beulah Bondi plays Ma Bridges. Robert Mitchum is Curt. Hedda Hopper's's little boy William is Arthur. The sister, Grace, who hates Curt, is played by Teresa Wright. Gwen is portrayed by Diana Lynn. Philip Tonge is Pa. Carl Switzer is the hired-hand.
Curt is an arrogant bully who pushes the rest of the family verbally and physically. Grace hates it that nobody stands up to him. Tab Hunter is Harold the youngest who's afraid to stand firm. He wants to marry Gwen but everybody, except brother Arthur, is against it. They don't like her. Arthur is the family peacemaker. Ma Bridges most definitely isn't sweet or kind, bitter fits. And Pa is a drunk and a womanizer. And there's the Indian hired-hand, Joe Sam, who's superstitious to a fault. Then we have the killer panther that brings sorrow to the family.
The panther causes the ranch problems by killing cattle. That sends Curt and Arthur out after it. Arthur is killed by the cat. Curt goes on his own to stop the animal.
Now the family is in turmoil (and always has been) and the bickering gets worse. What happens next? Does Curt make it back? How about Harold? Does he learn to stand firm where his family is concerned?
I enjoy good westerns and Wild Bill Wellman directed this one. It's different and it's good. Give it a try!
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