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  • Cattle King was the last film that Robert Taylor made under the MGM banner. He set a record unlikely to be broken of having the longest studio contract in the history of film. When he left MGM officially in 1959 he had an option for two more films. Cattle King was the last of those films.

    This was hardly the grand send off MGM gave him, but it's an entertaining B western. It played the bottom half of double features in 1963. Taylor had been off the screen for three years doing his The Detectives Television series. He no longer had the box office clout he once had.

    The plot involves Taylor, a Wyoming cattle rancher pitted against a big time operator played by Robert Middleton who wants to have a National Cattle Trail which means unfenced open country. Middleton wants to bring cattle from Texas, more than the range will support, make a quick profit and leave. Plot is very similar to Kirk Douglas's Man Without a Star. Middleton's hired a gunman played by Richard Devon.

    Middleton is also using William Windom against Taylor. Taylor is wooing Windom's sister played by Joan Caulfield.

    What makes this western a bit unusual is that in addition to settling things in the traditional western way, Taylor and Middleton are busy lobbying the President of the United States who's in Wyoming for a visit.

    In fact that part of the story is true. President Chester A. Arthur made a publicized trip to the Yellowstone National Park, the first visit by a sitting president to the western territories. Probably the only time Chet Arthur was ever portrayed on screen and here he's played by Larry Gates.

    The cast is made up of people who've done westerns before and a veteran director in Tay Garnett. He got the film done on location in less than two weeks. Good if you have seasoned players who know exactly what to do.

    I would also point out that Robert Loggia played Taylor's Mexican ranch hand and turned in a memorable performance right at the start of his distinguished career.

    Nice B western with a plot centered around a little known true story of the west.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You don't expect much when you start watching this movie, but it is surprisingly good.

    Here's what I liked:

    • Robert Taylor once again turns in a solid Western leading man performance.


    • Interesting early role by Robert Loggia, playing a Hispanic character, which he did quite often early in his career.


    • Story is very well told. There are no plot holes, the characters are plausible and consistent, it moves along at a good pace and maintains your interest, at least up until an unsatisfying ending.


    • All all the supporting performances are solid, including Robert Middleton as the heavy, Richard Devon as his henchman, William Windom as a sniveling neighbor. All the actresses are good as well.


    • Interesting appearance as a character by President Chester Arthur.


    • Very nice cinematography. Very rich yellows, oranges and browns. Was shot all on location in Wyoming during the fall.


    • A couple of Civil War references, which I think always adds texture to Westerns.


    Here's what wasn't so great:

    • Nothing new really added to standard cookie cutter range war plot.


    • The ending is very disappointing. All of the well developed conflicts are resolved almost instantly in a very contrived manner.


    • No comic relief
  • "Cattle King" is the last film Robert Taylor made under his MGM contract. His full-time contract had ended in 1959 but he agreed to do three more pictures. "Cattle King" is the third. Mr. Taylor plays a large scale cattle rancher whose living is being threatened by a Texas cartel who want to build a cattle highway from Texas to Canada. This would bring thousands of undesirable cattle to Mr. Taylor's Wyoming home. It's a nice twist on the old cattle ranchers vs. sheep herders story. Instead of wanting to leave the range free for cattle to roam, Sam Brassfield (Mr. Taylor) wants to fence in land for the controlled breeding of high quality bovines. The only sheep herder in the picture ends up siding with Brassfield. The cinematography is outstanding with a palette that brings out the beauty of the area near Yellowstone Park. There are numerous scenes of groups of people riding which must have looked wonderful on the big screen.

    The acting is done by seasoned professionals like Robert Middleton, Ray Teal and William Windom and a newcomer, Robert Loggia. They are all excellent. As usual in westerns, Joan Caulfield as the love interest for Sam isn't given enough to do. President Chester A. Arthur (Larry Gates) plays a pivotal role. In many ways Robert Taylor's colleagues at MGM made this a warm farewell. The name Robert Taylor fills the screen from top to bottom in the credits. He is photographed lovingly with numerous close-ups. There's a wonderful scene where Mr. Taylor stands proudly, legs apart in the western stance facing his enemy when the camera slides into a screen filling close-up. Robert Taylor was very good at playing characters who were larger than life, people who made a difference without losing their integrity. There's even a bit of humor as he spends a fair amount of time fussing with his various ties. "Cattle King" is a solid, well-acted, beautifully photographed western.
  • drystyx23 September 2018
    Robert Taylor, Robert Middleton, Richard Devon, William Windom, and Ray Teal are just some of the actors who quite obviously had some say in the roles and films they were in during this period, and picked an action Western with actual credible motivation in the characters. This old fashioned "my kind of range will be corrupted if we allow..." is something that might not be recognized by people in the information age of computers, but it's something quite obvious for people in the nineteenth century, whose information came from telegraphs and newspapers and rumors and what they saw first hand. The fears of losing livelihood was quite real. The unusual part of this film is how the characters aren't treated as stereotypes, aside from the sadistic one played by Devon. They have credible motivations, and the one unmotivated sadist is par for a realistic course in human events. The somewhat sadistic character played by Middleton pairs up with Devon to form an evil alliance. In comparison to the evil alliance of Shane's Stark and Wilson, this one doesn't come out nearly as well. Stark and Wilson made one of the most credible evil alliances in Western film history. This one is in the next tier. The brother character played by Windom is a pivotal one, as are many others. It is the supporting characters that make a film great, and this one has great supporting characters.
  • Well-armed backers of an interstate cattle trail running from Texas to the Canadian border run into resistance from Wyoming rancher Sam Brassfield (Robert Taylor) who has accepted and adapted to the reality that what was once an open range has now (1880's) become increasingly fenced off. His fences are blocking the plan for the cattle super-highway, the main backer of which is burly Clay Matthews (Robert Middleton) and his hired Texas gunman Vince Bodine (Richard Devon) who leads a ruthless band out to bring to reality the cattle trail by killing and scaring off any potential resistors. Matthews uses alcoholic rancher Harry Travers (William Windom) to spread rumors that Brassfield is the one cutting everyone's barbed wire fences in order to become the cattle king of the Wyoming range. Windom's part isn't half bad as the weak brother of the woman Brassfield becomes engaged to (Joan Caulfield). The whole idea of the cattle trail is interestingly brought out when the then President of the United States Chester Arthur (Larry Gates) visits Wyoming and finds out for himself that the rules of the range have changed for good. The film stumbles along at times, but for an early to mid 60's western it has some tough moments.
  • Guns of Wyoming (AKA: Cattle King) is directed by Tay Garnett and written by Thomas Thompson. It stars Robert Taylor, Robert Loggia, Joan Caulfield, Robert Middleton, Larry Gates and William Windom. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by William Snyder.

    A range war looms large in Wyoming...

    Fronted by the ever reliable Western presence that was Bobby Taylor, this pic follows a familiar and slight formula. Which ultimately is fine for those who love the prolific line of Westerns produced in the 50s and 60s.

    Thematically it's strong, where we find Taylor's hard working and honest cattleman desperately trying to protect his land from the free grazing movement - something which brings into play nefarious characters. Sam Brassfield (Taylor) fences off his land and Clay Matthews (Middleton) - with henchmen in tow - cuts them down, simultaneously putting the word out that it's Brassfield who's doing the snipping! Naturally there's romance in the air, which causes friction from more than one quarter, and into the mix comes a visit to this part of Wyoming by President Chester A. Arthur. Who, as it happens, is a key player in spite of his limited screen time (Gates regally excellent).

    There's a dark edge bubbling away in this one, which is capitalised upon with a genuinely shocking turn of events. If only the finale could have given us a barnstormer of the kind the story kind of demands. Elsewhere there's no problems in the cast, all perform goody/villain/pretty gal characters with measured form, the location photography in Kernville, California is most appealing, whilst the screenplay is without fuss and pointless filler. True enough to say it's hardly essential viewing for Western fans, and action junkies will be left hankering, but Taylor fans are appeased and it remains watchable from first frame to last. 6/10
  • This western uses plot #5 out of the usual 5 or 6 plots in practically every film of the genre. And because of this, it's not exactly a must-see film--even if there is an appearance by President Chester Arthur a couple times during the film.

    So what is plot #5? It's the big boss who insists on keeping the range free for cattle--even if this means pitting ranchers and sheep herders and practically everyone against each other. What makes this a bit difference is that one of the cattle men (Robert Taylor) is actually set up by another cattle men--mostly because Taylor thinks everyone CAN peacefully coexist. The bottom line is that the entire film seems very, very , very familiar. The acting isn't bad but the overall effort is imminently skip-worthy.

    Oh, and the guy who played Arthur really looked very little like the real Chester Arthur.
  • Robert Taylor is Brassfield, land-owner in Wyoming, who is determined to hold onto his land rights. with Joan Caulfield as Sharleen, the love interest. the arch enemy is Clay Mathews (Robert Middleton), a Texas big shot, who thinks his cattle should be allowed to graze anywhere, on any land, at any time. keep an eye out for John Mitchum, brother of Robert Mitchum. Mathews and Brassfield both get their say to the President. and there's the show-down coming, at some point. directed by early film director Tay Garnett. his biggest films were probably Postman Rings Twice and Mrs. Parkington. filmed in lovely MetroScope, for MGM Metro. Taylor was married to Barbara Stanwyck for twelve years! who knew? this one is a slow mover, but gets there eventually.
  • The only fault i can find is with the premise of the film ... to prevent the territory from becoming a cattle expressway to canada ... that makes no sense at all because the cattle market is in chicago ... i also find it damn near impossible to travel by horseback from the tetons or even lander for that matter to cheyenne in one day ... perhaps from laramie to cheyenne ... being a cattle baron is a risky business because you have to fight off the elements, rustlers, and the buyers that give low prices... not to mention the crooked cattleman's association ... the railroad is rarely used to ship cattle now because its done cheaper and faster by truckers ... the president is in wyoming to visit yellowstone national park which is at least 6 days travel from cheyenne ... its okay, hollywood can make anything happen overnight
  • It's 1883 in the Wyoming Territory. Sam Brassfield (Robert Taylor) is owner of a giant cattle ranch (in fact the American title of the movie is Cattle King , and also titled Guns of Wyoming) , living along with Ruth Winters (Virginia Christine) , her husbad Ed Winters (Ray Teal) and his Mexican right hand man, a tough , two-fisted foreman named Johnny Quatro (Robert Loggia) . Sam took in his now young adult nephew and niece , Webb (Robert Ivers) and June Carter (Maggie Pierce) , upon the distressed circumstances concerning his sister . Webb is learning to be ranch hand thanks to Quatro , but his hotheadedness often hinders his right way . But someone cutting Sam's wire fences , as hired killers plunge Wyoming into ranch-war and then Sam joins his underlings to go into action . They contend Clay Mathew (one of the screen's best oily villains , Robert Middleton) , a Texas cattle baron who wishes open range all the way from Texas to the Canada border. Sam believes Clay's self interest is driven by he having purchased too many cattle for what his own land can support, as Sam stubbornly determines to stay put , though warned of a hired gunslinger . One other smaller neighboring ranch which has split priorities is that owned and operated by the Travers brothers . As Harry Travers (William Windom) , is a man with no backbone who is easily controlled by others farmers . On the other side is Henry's sister , Sharleen Travers (Joan Caufield) , who does most of the work on the ranch in Henry's uselessness, and who is in love with Sam . As the confrontation seems to become more and more personal between Sam and Clay , once the hero's best friend . Another factor influencing what happens in the matter is the visit to the region of President Chester A. Arthur (Larry Gates ) who attempts to keep peace and order . Land-robbers , hired killers!...the whole Wyoming territory wasn't big enough to hold those gunslingers and the "CATTLE KING" .'Rip down his fences ! Gun down his woman! but then they must answer to the man who walks like a giant and fights like a fury!

    It deals with the usual western plot : Range War , as Sam/Robert Taylor who owns and operates the Teton cattle ranch alongside his foreman and housekeeper , husband and wife . On the other hand is Clay Mathews, a Texas cattle baron who wants that open range all the way from Texas to the Canada border resulting in a range war . Despite promising -not just Tay Garnett and big star Robert Taylor , but a nice camerawork- this MGM Western is pretty much a non-starter . The first half is efficient but slow and predictable , at the beginning a couple being attacked by a band of renegades secretly in pay of a land baron . Overall, though , this is a mighty slow ride through familiar pasture . Therefore , the script going in circles producing some boring incidents as appearance by US President himself , stoutly fighting for peace but losing any sense of dramatic process . Robert Taylor gives a passable acting in his habitual style as a wealthy landowner of Wyoming fighting to prevent the Texas herds from trampling his rich meadows . Robert Middleton plays splendidly a powerful cattle baron wanting eventually to oversupply the market with his inferior product at the end of the season to make millions . William Window is an alcoholic person , he is a man with no backbone who is easily manipulated . On the other side is Henry's sister , Sharleen Travers well played by powder-pluff blonde Joan Caufield , who does most of the work on the ranch in Henry's uselessness , and who is in a relationship with Sam . As well as Robert Loggia who likes his girls a little too much and delivers the hardness and bravura necessary to take down villains . And it is nice to see an important plethora of secondaries such as : Ray Teal , Virginia Christine , Robert Ivers , John Mitchum , Don Beddoe , Woodrow Parfrey , Malcolm Atterbury, Richard Devon as the hired gun in the form of badman Vince Bodine to execute his dirty work , as he seems to enjoy the character as the heavy for being the heavy's sake and , finally , Larry Gates who provides a plum role as true President Chester A. Arthur .

    The picture was professional -though with no enthusiasm- directed by Tay Garnett . Following his service as a naval aviator in WW I, Tay Garnett entered films in 1920 as a screenwriter. After a stint as a gag writer for Mack Sennett and Hal Roach he joined Pathe, then the distributor for both competing comedy producers , and in 1928 began directing for that company. Garnett garnered some attention in the early 1930s with such films as On way passage (1932) and Her man (1930), but his best work came in the mid-'30s and early 1940s with such films as China Seas (1935), and Slave ship (1937) . He directed all kinds of genres as Wartime , Drama , Westerns , Musical , Adventure , such as : Challenge to be free , The big push , Main street to Broadway , One minute to Zero , Cause of alarm , The valley of decision , Mrs. Parkington , Cheers to Miss Bishop , Seven sinners , Slightly honorable , Eternally yours , Joy of living , Stand-in , The flying fool . His best known film would have to the John Garfield/Lana Turner vehicle The postman always rings twice (1946), although his version of A Connectticut Yankee in King Arthur's court (1949) was a hit , as well as his successful warlike movie : Bataan , that had a well-deserved critical and commercial applause , as well . Garnett journeyed to England in the early 1950s for several films, but upon his return made only a few pictures before jumping enthusiastically into television. Rating : 6/10 . Passable and decent western but not extraordinary.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Cattle King" was a low budget (for MGM) "B" western of the type that Universal turned out at the time. It has a stellar cast including star Robert Taylor who was nearing the end of his career and life.

    Taylor plays Sam Brassfield, a big time cattle rancher in 1883 Wyoming territory. His neice June (Maggie Piece is being shown around the ranch by ranch hand Hobie Renton (Richard Trotter) when they are attacked by a group of masked men. Hobie is shot down by the leader Vince Bodine (Richard Devon) while June escapes. Bodine then cuts the Brassfield barbed wire fence.

    Returning to the ranch, Julie is consoled by Sam and his right hand man Johnny Quatro (Robert Loggia) who sets out after the killers. Also on hand are June's hot-headed brother Webb (Robert Ivers), Foreman Ed Winters (Ray Teal) and his wife Ruth (Virginia Christine who basically runs the household.

    It seams that Texas cattleman Clay Mathews (Robert Middleton) is planning to run large herds of cattle up from Texas, have them feed off of the Wyoming grassland and be sold off for a quick profit. To achieve this Mathews has been leasing the small ranches lands to feed his cattle. Sam resists.

    Sam is sweet on small rancher Sharleen Travers (Joan Caulfield) whom he visits while on his way to Cheyenne to confront Mathews. Her brother, the weak willed Harry Travers has thrown in (reluctantly) with Mathews to try and sway the other ranchers to Mathews will. As lick would have it, the President of the United States Chester A. Arthur (Larry Gates) just happens to be passing through on his way to see Yellowstone National Park.

    After meeting with Mathews and each stating their opposing views, Sam overhears Mathews at a dinner in honor of the President, telling him of his ambitious plans. Sam enters the room uninvited and gives the President his views of the situation.

    Sheepherder Abe Clevenger (Malcolm Atterbury) is influential with the other small ranchers and Sam needs his support. Fearing that Abe will throw in with Mathews, Mathews sends his men led by Bodine and Tex (John Mitchum) to wreck Abe's ranch and drive him off. Abe believes that Sam was responsible and goes to Sam's ranch and tries to kill him getting shot by Sam in the process.

    When President Arthur visits Sam's ranch one day, Abe overhears Sam defending Abe and calling him a true friend. Abe then abandons his plan to kill Sam and comes over to Sam's side. Mathew's men go to the travers ranch and wound Harry and kill Sharleen whom Sam was planning to marry. This sets up the inevitable showdown between Sam and Mathews and Johnny Quatro and Bodine and...........................................................................................

    It was unusual to see a President of the U.S. play such an important part in a western such as this, however, his presence does play a role in the final outcome. Although made by MGM, there are still some stock footage shots of cattle herds to be seen. Taylor, well past his "best before date" does play a character more his own age than try to be the dashing hero of his youth. Robert Loggia, just staring out, doesn't really have much to do. Smart eyed viewers will recognize Jerry Lewis stock company veteran Ivers as the hot-headed nephew.