The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  1 July 1965 (USA)
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Reviews: 52 user | 32 critic

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Slate ...
Sheldon Allman ...
Harry Evers
James Westerfield ...
Mr. Vennar
Charlie Striker


The Elder boys return to Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral. John the eldest is a well known gunfighter and trouble follows him wherever he goes. The boys try to get back their ranch from the towns gunsmith who won it from their father in a card game with which he was shortly murdered there after but not before getting through the troubles that come with the Elders name. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They came from nobody knows where, to do God only knows what... See more »




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 July 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die vier Söhne der Katie Elder  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film premiered on ABC television the same night as the infamous "Heidi (1968)" incident on NBC. See more »


John Elder fires 14 shots from a six-shooter without reloading. See more »


Bud Elder: I'm going with you. I can draw pretty fast. We can be famous -- like the Dalton Brothers!
John Elder: They're famous -- but they're just a little bit dead. They were hung!
See more »


Featured in The Dean Martin Show: Episode #1.2 (1965) See more »


The Sons Of Katie Elder
Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
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User Reviews

A good traditional Western
9 January 2004 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

I just saw this movie some 30 years after my first viewing of the film--and surprisingly I found it to be a lot more entertaining than my first recollections of the film.

It's a traditional Hollywood western: good wins over evil, the hero gets the girl, and law is maintained. It has no complications. Even the Mexicans are shown squatting at the funeral far apart from the others only getting up to bury the body. That was how most Westerns were made...So what's good about the film?

Elmer Bernstein's music is as good as his music in 'The Magnificent Seven', if not better. The range of actors: a believable John Wayne, an entertaining Dean Martin with "third-eye" act, a menacing George Kennedy, a "likable" Strother Martin in a brief role as the winner of the third eye, and a fine performance by young Dennis Hopper makes the film above average viewing.

The real hero of the movie is "Katie Elder" dead when the film begins, respected as the film unfolds, and never seen on screen. Everyone seems to remember her with awe. She is epitomized by the empty rocking chair (final shot) and a Bible she leaves behind.

Henry Hathaway's westerns will not be reflective ones as are later Westerns such as "Will Penny", "Tell Them Willie Boy is Here" or "Monte Walsh"--his movies tend to affirm the status quo of typical Hollywood westerns with a heart (good Christian values, strong connection with nature and animals--horses in this movie--as he did in "How the West was Won") and no mind (insensitive to Mexicans and Red Indians). The Christian values in the film are fuzzy, e.g., fool some poor gullible guys at a bar and emerge a hero, or sell a blind horse to gain money and remembered for it at your funeral, etc. This film of Hathaway, ably supported by Bernstein's music and Lucien Ballard's camera, is a great movie for an audience that wants to see a traditional western unfold--and but not be asked to think beyond what is shown.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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