9 user 4 critic

The Big Cat (1949)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | April 1949 (USA)
1933. A city boy arrives in his late mother's birthplace to discover the locals have been pestered by drought, old fights and a cougar. He turns out to be pivotal in all of these.


Phil Karlson


Morton Grant (screenplay), Dorothy Yost (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Lon McCallister ... Danny Turner
Peggy Ann Garner ... Doris Cooper
Preston Foster ... Tom Eggers
Forrest Tucker ... Gil Hawks
Skip Homeier ... Jim Hawks - Gil's Son
Sara Haden ... Mrs. Mary Cooper
Irving Bacon ... Matt Cooper - Mailman
Gene Reynolds ... Wid Hawks - Gil's Son


1933. A city boy arrives in his late mother's birthplace to discover the locals have been pestered by drought, old fights and a cougar. He turns out to be pivotal in all of these. Written by Homme A. Piest <piest@pobox.leidenuniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wild animal | mountain | feud | See All (3) »


Powerful Action! Thrilling Drama! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Raubkatze See more »

Filming Locations:

Kanab Canyon, Kanab, Utah, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Gil Hawks: Tom, why don't you own up - that cat's too smart for you. Take a better shot than you're ever gonna be to collect that bounty
[he laughs mockingly]
Tom Eggers: You think so?
[he shoots Gil's hat from his hand]
Gil Hawks: You ever do that again, Tom Eggers and I'm gonna split your back open
Tom Eggers: If I ever do it again, I won't be aiming at your hat
See more »


Remade as Track of the Cat (1954) See more »


Polly Wolly Doodle
See more »

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User Reviews

A vegetarian visits Uncle Meaty
16 May 2005 | by yonhopeSee all my reviews

Hi, Everyone, Lon McCallister shines as a newbie to the Utah drought stricken badlands of the 1930s. He has left his Eastern digs to get away from the Depression. When he meets Peggy Ann Garner he wishes he could get back to the squalor he left. Her jawbone never stops when she is on screen.

This movie is not great by any means, but it has some good moments. There are only a few human actors in this drama. The Big Cat does a good job of hitting his marks and growling. The best scenes by far are the fights. They seem real. Not just the human, but the animal fights are well done for 1949 when George Lucas was not available for a light show or animation.

In one fight scene between Preston Foster and Forrest Tucker you can almost feel the pain. Lon McCallister manages to get into a fight with his two cousins and they don't hold back. The cat has a scrape or two with a beautiful white dog and all of it is photographed to show how rough it is to survive in an environment with limited water and food and money sources.

Lon had a true screen presence that did not last long enough. If they quit using him because of his short stature, it was a loss to the fans. Skip Homeier is good as a rotten kid. Forrest Tucker is easy to dislike and he carries off the villain honors well here. Preston Foster does an excellent job of being a less than likable hero.

The best acting here is by Sara Haden as the mom of Peggy Ann Garner. She reminds me of my aunts of the 1950s. The worst singing in movie history might be the acappella ditty offered up by Irving Bacon as he approaches Lon McCallister who is walking down the road with his suitcase.

Lon McCallister and Skip Homeier both should have had long careers similar to Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. They had a good hero/villain chemistry. Somehow it just didn't happen.

When you watch this and see Forrest Tucker in 1949, you are seeing F Troop's Sgt. O'Rourke just 16 years before he became known for his comedic fights.

I recommend Stage Door Canteen with Lon McCallister (5'6") and Sunset Carson (6'4"). You will see the same boyish charm of McCallister 6 years before The Big Cat was made.

Tom Willett

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