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Film / The Night of the Grizzly

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The Night of the Grizzly is a 1966 Western starring Clint Walker, Martha Hyer, Jack Elam, Keenan Wynn, and Leo Gordon.

Ex-lawman Big Jim Cole and his family have moved to Wyoming to start a simpler and safer life on a ranch. However, financial troubles and the machinations of the unscrupulous town boss Jed Curry—who wants their land for his no-good sons—soon land them on the edge of ruin. And then there's Old Satan, a just plumb mean grizzly who eats hunting parties for breakfast and has taken a special liking to the cows on the Cole ranch. Big Jim is in danger of losing everything, if he doesn't kill Old Satan—first.

Tropes present in this movie

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Cole sits down on a rickety chair at his new ranch, it breaks under his weight and deposits him on the ground. After a brief pause, he's able to laugh at himself.
  • Berserk Button: Big Jim stealing Cass Dowdy's boots (to prevent him sabotaging his traps) really ticks him off.
  • Bounty Hunter: Cass Dowdy is one—for man or beast.
  • Bullying a Dragon: the Curry boys decide to pick a fight with ex-lawman Big Jim Cole—as played by the 6'6 and extremely buff Clint Walker. The Curry boys aren't very bright, and after Big Jim's done with them, their father takes over.
  • Dances and Balls: there's a dance in the general store at which hijinx and spiked punch ensue.
  • Death Glare: Don't mouth off to Cass Dowdy.
  • Determined Homesteader: Angie aspires to this, although she does lose her nerve when confronted by both Old Satan and Cass Dowdy.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Cass Dowdy strolling into the general store and effortlessly intimidating the local crew into silence or a quick exit.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Cass Dowdy.
  • Family-Values Villain: Jed Curry simply wants Jim Cole's land for his sons. He's not particularly unreasonable about it, and certainly not willing to break the law to get it...but he intends to get the land by hook or by crook.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: Big Jim won't quit, even when Old Satan kills his best friend, because he is fighting to keep his home and family intact.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cass dies trying to save Charlie, giving Big Jim a chance to shoot Old Satan.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Big Jim Cole and Sam Potts both have female love interests, but have been lawmen together for about a decade and retire and ranch together.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: No western being complete without a good ol' two-fisted brawl. There's Big Jim versus the Curry boys, and then (a much more even fight) Big Jim and Cass Dowdy.
  • Insistent Terminology: Gypsy refers to her father as "Big Jim."
  • It's Personal: Cass spent two years in jail because of Big Jim. He'll take the reward, but mostly he wants to see Big Jim Cole lose everything he owns.
    • Also, Old Satan killed his dogs.
  • Licked by the Dog:
    • Charlie idolizes Cass Dowdy, an early indication that there might be a good side to the ruthless bounty hunter.
    • Gypsy adopts the local layabout, Hank.
  • Pet the Dog: Cass to Charlie.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Jed Curry wants Big Jim's land. He doesn't want Big Jim for an enemy—so he is perfectly polite, reasonable, and stays completely within the limits of the law.
  • Running Gag: Wilhelmina "Bill" Peterson repeatedly comments about Sam's supposed handsomeness, and other people don't realize who she's talking about.
  • Shirtless Scene: Big Jim gets shirtless several times.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Multiple people know Jim on sight due to his resemblance to his late uncle.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Jed Curry has a habit of speaking calmly for a few sentences and then bellowing at people once he's mad.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Old Satan kills every single cow in the Cole farmstead and leaves the bodies uneaten.
  • White Sheep: Tad Curry's father and brother aren't evil, but he comes across as noticeably kinder than they are and is more likely to be apologetic about his Jerkass moments. His Ship Tease with Cole's niece Meg may be part of this.
  • Worthy Opponent