The Sons of Katie Elder is a western movie classic. Who can forget the tale of four brothers falsely accused of the murder of a popular sheriff, chained together and fighting off a vicious mob? What is not typically known is that this movie was very loosely based on the story of a family that resided in our great state.
The tale reads like the fictional work of American storyteller Louis L’Amour, but the story of courage and gunplay is true. In this case, the men at the center of the action weren’t named Elder – they were the Marlows.
During the early 1880s the Marlow family settled in Indian Territory in the present-day southwestern town of Marlow, located just 15 minutes north of Duncan. The father, Dr. Williamson Marlow treated the sick and injured in the area, while his second wife Martha Jane ran the household. Their five sons, George, Charlie, Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn, made a living farming and doing the occasional odd job. It wasn’t long after Dr. Marlow’s death that the Marlow family experienced a series of dramatic and fatal events.