THE CARPETBAGGERS is first-rate trash--and trash of so high a caliber is not easy to find. Deny it though he might, Harold Robbins obviously used parts of the life of Howard Hughes as the basis for his major character, Jonas Cord (Peppard). The other roles are not so easily
distinguishable, but most of them appear to be melanges of many business and Hollywood types. Ladd is Peppard's avuncular confidante, Nevada Smith, a former outlaw. Peppard inherits his late father's dynamite plant and promptly goes after the old man's widow, Baker. He turns her into a movie
sexpot and makes Ladd a Roy Rogers-type hero when he takes over a movie lot. When Baker refuses to sleep ...