The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) Poster


The hearse featured at the funeral of Katie Elder currently resides in front of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.
This picture marked the return of John Wayne to work after having a cancerous lung and two ribs removed just four months earlier. He insisted on doing all his own stunts to show the public that the illness hadn't slowed him down.
When John Wayne is dragged into the river, you can hear a child calling out, "Dad!". This was his three-year-old son Ethan Wayne, who was watching off camera and knew how ill his father was. Wayne nearly contracted pneumonia from filming this scene.
Tommy Kirk was fired from the film after being arrested for possession of marijuana at a party on Christmas Eve 1964. Photographs of him wearing police handcuffs made the front pages of newspapers, and consequently he found it increasingly difficult to get film roles.
Filming was due to begin in September 1964, but had to be delayed until January 1965 after John Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Despite this being a big-budget movie with a large cast, Karl Swenson was utilized to play two parts. He played "Doc Isdell" and also the bartender in the scene where the Dean Martin character auctioned his eye. The bartender part actually had more lines of dialogue.
John Wayne's own stunt double Chuck Roberson stood in for George Kennedy in the scene where Wayne's character hits Kennedy with an axe handle.
In western history, there is a famous Katie Elder: "Big Nose" Kate Elder, a prostitute and girlfriend of legendary gunfighter John "Doc" Holliday.
Michael Anderson Jr. replaced Tommy Kirk at very short notice.
According to the tombstone, Bass Elder was born in 1834 and died in 1898, making him 63 or 64 at the time of his death. The film is set in 1898 and his eldest son is played by 57-year-old John Wayne.
John Wayne, aged 57, was 36 years older than Michael Anderson Jr., who played his younger brother Bud. It is estimated that Wayne's character John Elder was supposed to be about 45.
The story was originally set to be filmed in 1956, starring Alan Ladd and directed by John Sturges.
When the Elder brothers are being driven out of town in chains, you can see an American flag flying over a building and right under it a Mexican flag.
This film premiered on ABC television the same night as the infamous "Heidi (1968)" incident on NBC.
When Bud tells John they could be famous like the Dalton gang, John reminds him the Daltons "were hung". Actually, three members of the Dalton gang were shot to pieces by the outraged citizens of Coffeyville, KS when the gang tried to rob both town banks simultaneously in 1892. Survivor Emmett Dalton was shot 23 times, and spent 14 years in prison.
The film was loosely based on the real-life story of the five Marlowe brothers.
Remade in a modern setting as Four Brothers (2005).

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