Track of the Cat (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  27 November 1954 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,278 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 12 critic

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 ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Lusty Men (1952)
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When he sustains a rodeo injury, star rider Jeff McCloud returns to his hometown after many years of absence. He signs on as a hired hand with a local ranch, where he befriends fellow ranch... See full summary »

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Robert Parrish
Stars: Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a notorious tough 'town tamer' is hired by the citizenry to rid of the gunmen driving them off their land, he finds the local saloon madam to be an old friend.

Director: Richard Wilson
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling, Karen Sharpe
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Unemployed cowhand Jim Garry is hired by his dishonest friend Tate Riling as muscle in a dispute between homesteaders and cattleman John Lufton.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston
Certificate: M Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Marshal Flagg, an aging lawman about to be retired, hears that his old nemesis, the outlaw McKaye, is back in the area and planning a robbery. Riding out to hunt down McKaye, Flagg is ... See full summary »

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: Robert Mitchum, George Kennedy, Martin Balsam
Pursued (1947)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s, an orphan grows up haunted by nightmares of a childhood trauma in which his own family was killed.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Teresa Wright, Robert Mitchum, Judith Anderson
The Way West (1967)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1843 a former U.S. senator leads a wagon train of settlers to Oregon, but his megalomania leads to growing dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark
Thunder Road (1958)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Ripley
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Jacques Aubuchon
Macao (1952)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Nicholas Ray
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Ellen Burton arrives in Africa to join Dr. Mary as her nurse, bringing modern medicine to the native peoples. Lonni Douglas, an animal wrangler and fortune hunter, agrees to take her ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Walter Slezak
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of men at war and that of the esteemed Pulitzer prize winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Soon after the U.S. entry into World War II, Pyle joined C Company, 18th Infantry in ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Burgess Meredith, Robert Mitchum, Freddie Steele
5 Card Stud (1968)
Western | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The players in an ongoing poker game are being mysteriously killed off, one by one.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Inger Stevens
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Having fled to Mexico from the U.S. many years ago for killing his father's murderer, Martin Brady travels to Texas to broker an arms deal for his Mexican boss, strongman Governor Cipriano ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Parrish
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Julie London, Gary Merrill


Complete credited cast:
Curt Bridges
Grace Bridges
Gwen Williams
Harold Bridges
Ma Bridges
Philip Tonge ...
Pa Bridges
Arthur Bridges
Joe Sam (as Carl Switzer)


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 Jasha

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Human Emotion Stripped Raw!


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's Track of the Cat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer was only 26 when he played the elderly Joe Sam. See more »


They say the story takes place in Aspen Colorado but when they talk about the local area they are speaking of Pyramid lake ,the Fremont expedition and Placerville witch all of them are in California. See more »


Pa Bridges: Some thievin' female's stolen my bottle.
See more »


Remake of The Big Cat (1949) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Black Pant'er, Whole World
9 June 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

"Track of the Cat" has been in limbo for years for several reasons. One, John Wayne's son, Michael, in charge of Batjac productions, refused to let it be distributed on DVD or otherwise until recently (Michael is now deceased but his widow worked out a deal with Paramount). Two, the film was not all that successful when first released. Only the drawing power of Robert Mitchum and other cast members sold what tickets were purchased by the movie goers of the day. Three, it was basically a pet project for director William A. Wellman who had fallen in love with the book by "The Ox-Bow Incident" writer, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, a few years before and had dreams of putting it on the big screen in glorious black and white color. He wished to experiment with color technique by having his cinematographer (who turned out to be William H. Clothier) use mainly black and white settings including the clothing and furnishings, with a few exceptions such as Robert Mitchum's bright red coat, the brightness of fire, etc. Producer John Wayne was so happy with Wellman's success with such box office hits as "The High and the Mighty" that he let him have his way. The result is a masterful work unlike anything else the viewer is likely to see on the big screen. The new process of Cinemascope captures the white canvas of the countryside covered with new fallen snow wondrously.

The interior shots tend to be cramped and the dialog talky reminding the viewer of a stage play. The exterior scenes are truly magnificent and add much to the texture of the story about a dysfunctional, isolated family, the Bridges (as in bridges to cross), preyed upon by a ferocious black panther, or so the Native American hired hand, Joe Sam (Our Gang's Alfalfa), says. The panther, whatever color the viewer decides it to be, is symbolic of the turmoil and apprehension that has become part of the clan as a result of rivalry for domination within the group. The panther becomes an obsession that brings out the truth and ultimately decides the family's fate.

Robert Mitchum, in a different type role, plays the oldest son, Curt, an egomaniac, selfish to the core, but with the heart of a coward. Still, the family looks to him for leadership. He tells everyone that he is going to put a bullet between the panther's eyes. The second son, Arthur, played with élan by William Hopper of Perry Mason fame, is kindhearted though meek, loving poetry with no desire to be a leader. He wishes to let the panther be. The youngest son, Harold, played by teen idol, Tab Hunter, is young, innocent, and in love with a neighbor, Gwen Williams (Diana Lynn), who is spending time at the Bridges' farm to be close to Harold during the inclement weather. The self-proclaimed matriarch who tries to ramrod the family with threats, guilt trips, and Bible citations, is Ma Bridges (Beulah Bondi). She has so far successfully kept her brood under her control and away from nubile bliss, including the only daughter, Grace (Teresa Wright), now a spinster. Harold threatens to tear Ma's house down by marrying Gwen whom Ma naturally despises with a determination to rid the family of this interloper and intruder. Pa Bridges (Philip Tonge) has become a drunken milquetoast and somewhat of a dirty old man, especially around Gwen, as a result of years of badgering and nagging by Ma. The story involves the two oldest sons hunting the countryside for the panther preying on their cattle. Yet the panther is the catalyst that connects the dots to reveal the truth that leads to a new beginning for the Bridges.

The drama reminds one of an adaptation of a Eugene O'Neill play in some ways, especially the part dealing with the alcoholic father. Unfortunately, the film falters in the dramatic department yet somewhat compensates in the hunt for the panther. Though not a long film, making it at least fifteen minutes shorter with more action and less talk would have benefited the production greatly. The use of the panther as a symbol was inspired. As Joe Sam says toward the end when commenting on the color of the beast, "Black pant'er, whole world."

33 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A really bad movie!! jtt-uscg
How many fans think this Western is an example of Film Noir? ossurworld
DVD Release christieg2
I Read the Book befred8
SUSPENSE! (the radio show, that is) rocketeer-3
Could've been great, but... nedeljkodjukic88
Discuss Track of the Cat (1954) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: