Like Ethan Edwards in that much better western The Searchers, Joseph Cotten's Temple Cordeen doesn't believe in surrendering. He's taken no notice of the surrender at Appomattox and in fact when we first meet him, he's hanging a Yankee journalist who had the temerity to tell the black people on Cotten's Texas ranch they weren't slaves any more. At the same time his oldest son Gordon Scott comes home just in time to see the lynching and he's appalled by what dear old dad has done. This is how The Tramplers begins.
Joseph Cotten before the Civil War was the local Ben Cartwright in his corner of Texas with five sons, two daughters and a host of other relatives. But by the end of the war, he and most of his family are acting more like the Clantons. Scott and youngest brother James Mitchum are against the father along with their two sisters. The three middle boys, three really putrid specimens of humanity stick with Cotten.
Elements of The Searchers, The Texans, Saddle The Wind, and The Westerner are to be found in The Tramplers. I'm sure that Scott, one of the people who played Tarzan, Cotten, and Jim Mitchum, took their European vacation and their paychecks and said their lines and made sure the checks cleared the bank before saying them. I'm not a fan of European westerns and The Tramplers is not a film to convince me to be one.
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