Mark Rydell shows some fine touches in his third feature, but the result is an overlong and often-dull movie that had the rare distinction of being one of the few John Wayne westerns that gasped at the box office. Eleven youths, ages 9-15, are hired by rancher Wayne when his regular hands
desert him in search of gold that's been discovered nearby. They drive a herd of cattle 400 miles before Wayne is shot by nutty Dern, who is angry that he wasn't hired. The young boys become a revenge-driven gang under the eye of Browne, a wagon-train cook. They go out and nail Dern and his gang.
All of this takes more than two hours to tell, and that's twenty minutes too long. Ra...