Original Australian Daybill movie poster. The Carpetbaggers is a 1964 American film directed by Edward Dmytryk, based upon the best-selling novel of the same name by Harold Robbins, and starring George Peppard as Jonas Cord, a character based loosely on Howard Hughes, and Alan Ladd in his last role as Nevada Smith, a former western gunslinger turned actor. Carroll Baker, Martha Hyer, Bob Cummings and Elizabeth Ashley also star. The Carpetbaggers was released in April 1964. Two years after this film, Steve McQueen played Ladd's character in a Western prequel entitled Nevada Smith.