After a band of drunken thugs overruns a small Indian Nation town, killing Minister Goodnight and raping the women folk, Eula Goodnight enlists the aid of Marshal Cogburn to hunt them down and bring her father's killers to justice.
The murder of her father sends a teenage tomboy on a mission of 'justice', which involves avenging her father's death. She recruits a tough old marshal, 'Rooster' Cogburn because he has 'true grit', and a reputation of getting the job done.
The Elder boys return to Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral. John the eldest is a well known gunfighter and trouble follows him wherever he goes. The boys try to get back their ranch from the towns gunsmith who won it from their father in a card game with which he was shortly murdered there after but not before getting through the troubles that come with the Elders name. The four sons of Katie Elder reunite in their Hometown of Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral, and discover that the family ranch is now in the hands of Morgan Hastings, the town's gunsmith.
Mordrcai Jones (George C. Scott) is a rural con artist (a 'flim flam man') who takes on a young army deserter Curley (Michael Sarrazin) as his protégé and teaches him the tricks of the trade. Sheriff Slade (Harry Morgan) is in hot pursuit of the pair and rich girl Bonnie Lee Packard (Sue Lyon) becomes romantically involved with Curley and helps the fleeing duo stay one step ahead of the sheriff. The film features a great automobile chase scene for those who appreciate this kind of cinema hijinks. Screenplay by William Rose ("It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World").