Track of the Cat

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Western
Director(s): William A. Wellman
Production: Warner Bros.
102 min


Listen to wind.


Maybe I'm just hearing things.

Hey, what's going...

Look out you don't get

a fist in the teeth.


Cattle's bawling.

Something's at them.

Is that what you woke me up for?

Wait till the wind changes.

How long has this been going on?

Joe Sam just now told me.

Thinks it's the cat, huh?

The black panther that's big as a horse,

and you can see right through him.

Shoot at him,

and he keeps on coming.

So what are you gonna do,

just stand there and listen?

Thought you'd like to know.

Thinking's about all

you do around here.

Get your clothes on.

He ain't gonna wait for us.

What do you see, Joe Sam?

You see the black panther?

Look at him seeing it.

Snow come.

Black panther come.

Let him be!

You get him out of here, or I will!

I'll finish it today.

Go on back to bed.

Joe Sam's personal medicine man.

Well, I've got the proper medicine

for that cat.

A.3030 slug right between the eyes.

That'll kill him for sure.

Unless he's black.

Yeah, unless he's black.

Hey, wake up!

I had a dream

I was trying to remember.

Cat's out there,

and he had a dream.

Well, they were here when we came...

and there were more deer

than there are now.

So don't kill him, huh?

Just let him kill stock.

The old man and his com stock,

and you and the good old days...

and that old Indian with his cat.

Well, we woke the old lady.

Now there'll be two of you.

We'll never get out.

Well, I'm all set. I'll go.

No, you won't do, kid.

Got to take Art

in case the cat's black.

I wouldn't know what to do

if it was black.

You could take Joe Sam.

No, he'd be for the cat.

I don't know if

I'd trust you, either.

Better let me come along Curt.

A million to one it ain't black.

Now, you know better than that, kid.

You know

how Joe Sam gets with the first snow.

You're the white hope of the Bridges.

You stay right here

and tend to the future.

Don't mess around

cooking anything, Ma.

Got to get out in a hurry.

Panther's at the stock.

Are you going alone?

No, ma'am. I'm taking Art.

In case he's black.

He'll be like that all the way.

You get so you don't hear him.

Seems to me

you could wait until daybreak.

Won't be many tracks

left in this snow.

That won't stop Curt. Never has.

Well, I asked for a medicine man,

and what do I get? A monk.

Did you know

we had a monk in the house, Ma?

Don't blaspheme.

No need to hurry as I can see.

I'll be a few minutes yet.

Art dreamt it was a panther.

Had a notion it might be black.

I had a dream, myself, and it

ain't left me in no mood for jokes.

The place is just crawling with dreams.

Did you have any, kid?

No, I wouldn't waste my time dreaming

either, if I had a girl like Gwen.

Watch your mouth!

Now, what'd I say, Ma?

All I said, with a girl like Gwen,

who'd waste his time dreaming?

Curt likes a dream

he can lay his hands on.

Yes, sir.

I said, watch your mouth!

Hal ain't like Art, Ma.

Old Art's a monk.

Hal, he's just a kid,

and already he's got...

You hear me, Curtis?

Well, I'm no kid, either.

I'm 37, Art's 43, and the old man's

nobody knows how far past 70.

You go bossing the bunch of us

like we was kids.

Can't even make a little joke.

The girls is awake in there.

You want Gwen Williams to hear you?

Now what did I say, Ma?

Just tell me one little thing I said.

Wouldn't take any fancy guessing

to know what you mean.

Well now,

if we're gonna start guessing...

anything I said about Gwen Williams is

brotherly love compared to what you...

Let it go, Curt.

Just thought maybe the kid might like

to know what his ma thinks of his girl.

If you're in such an all-fired hurry

to get out after that cat...

you'd better be

getting them ponies saddled.

And don't go taking holy names in vain

every time you open your mouth.

They're likely to be a long time,

if you was figuring on waiting.

Ask her what she thinks of your girl.

They're having a good time in there.

Yeah. Ain't they, though?

Don't you think it'd be better

if Harold would go instead of you...

the way Curt's taking on this morning?

He can't very well with Gwen just come.

Her first visit, too.

She's gotta be broke into the rest of us

kind of gradual, and he better do it.

Harold, have you thought any how

you're gonna live when you get married?

Well, it hasn't gone that far, yet.

Well it's what you want, ain't it?

It's for sure

what the Williams think you want...

all the time

you've been sitting in their kitchen.

Well, I guess so, if she does.

You needn't worry too much about that.

Not with all the money

this ranch could make...

and that gopher hole

the Williams live in.

She's not that kind, Ma.

What kind is she?

Have you got a name for her

I haven't got?

Was you expecting to bring her

in this house to live?

No, I don't think so.

Well, then,

what was you figuring on doing?

Does it have to be settled

right now, Mother?

Now is just as good a time as any.

She don't think

she was asked over here...

just to keep an old maid

like Grace company.

Harold's too young to get married,

and to an older woman at that.

You talk like she was 50!

She's not two years older than I am!

Two or 20,

you're a child compared to her.

You couldn't even support a wife...

even if she was proper for you,

which she ain't.

What do you want, Mother?

One of these days,

the Bridges are gonna die out.

Is that what you want?

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A.I. Bezzerides

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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