Robert Mitchum helped to introduce the psychological western in the landmark film Pursued. In Track of the Cat, he continued to chart new territory for what was already a well-worn genre in 1954.
Track of The Cat, set on Mount Ranier, features Mitchum as the forceful head of a very disfunctional family in the waning days of the 1800's. Mitchum is the middle child, but runs roughshod over his gentle older brother, played by William Hopper (Paul Drake of TV's Perry Mason), and his younger, unconfidant brother, played by 50's heartthrob Tab Hunter. The rest of the family is a spinsterish sister, played by Teresa Wright, (who was in Pursued with Mitchum), and overbearing mother and alcoholic father, played by Beulah Bondi and Philip Tonge.
When a mountain lion begins to attach their cattle, Mitchum and Hooper start out on a lion hunt. Back home, Hunter is trying to navigate an uneasy visit by his girfriend, who is welcomed by half the family and disliked by the other half. Much drama and tragedy ensues.
The predominant use of black and white by director William Wellman is very effective, but it would have been wasted without such a great cast. Everyone is excellent, particularly Mitchum, Bondi, and Tonge, who played comic relief with great effect.
This is a great film long overdue on DVD.