Ben is an old man, lying on his death-bed, when our story opens. The friends, old and young, who visit him cause him to recall events out of his past: together they make up the story of Cattleman, a tale which spans three generations.
It’s a chronicle of its time and must also of necessity be a story of war – since two world wards occurred during Ben’s life, but Cattleman is not a war novel. It contains convincing descriptions of life in the Australian outback: the creeping menace of the prickly pear; the suspense of young Ben McReady’s flights from the police; and some interesting details of the ‘correct and most successful’ methods of cattle duffing – a subject on which he is quite an authority! Yet it is the wonderful life and character of old Ben McReady which makes Cattleman such an enthralling tale. He is a kind of ideal Australian in his generosity, and his contempt for authority and affectation. Even his cattle duffing seems to be more an endearing failing than a serious crime. His life history, covering pioneering, marriage and wartime service is also true to the prototype of the ideal Australian.
Cattleman – Cast List
The role of Ben McReady was originally played by Frank Waters who (for family reasons) had to move to Darwin. He was replaced by Nigel Lovell.