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The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

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A hobo accidentally stumbles onto a water spring, and creates a profitable way station in the middle of the desert.


1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Mims ...
Mrs. Jensen
Susan O'Connell ...
Max Evans ...
Webb Seely


Double-crossed and left without water in the desert, Cable Hogue is saved when he finds a spring. It is in just the right spot for a much needed rest stop on the local stagecoach line, and Hogue uses this to his advantage. He builds a house and makes money off the stagecoach passengers. Hildy, a sex worker from the nearest town, moves in with him. Hogue has everything going his way until the advent of the automobile ends the era of the stagecoach. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cable Hogue says..."Seek...and ye shall find." See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 May 1970 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Cable Hogue  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$3,716,946 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,500,000, 31 December 1975

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,000,000, 31 December 1980
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Only credit for actor Slim Pickens' brother, Easy Pickens, who worked professionally as; Easy Pickens. See more »


When Hildy is giving Hogue a bath and he gets out. as he is wrapping the towel around him, you can see his underwear on both sides of the towel. See more »


Cable Hogue: Those silly jackasses over there can laugh at me all they want, but they're in a spot of trouble. Now wouldn't you think a stage line could see that? In all the long, wrought out, back-breakin', kidney-shakin', bladder-bustin' miles from here to Lizard, there's not one spot of wet relief for man or beast! Now, if I could bring comfort to the passengers, rest to the teams, food and drink to the drivers, and water to all, well what would be wrong with that? Now listen, there's a preacher out at ...
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Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Lyrics by Richard Gillis
Performed by Richard Gillis
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User Reviews

Sam Peckinpah's Best Film
12 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

When people mention Sam Peckinpah, the film most mentioned is The Wild Bunch. While I'm a big fan of that very violent film, I find out that most people don't even know about The Ballad Of Cable Houge, which I feel is his finest film.

The film is about a would be prospector named Cable Houge (Jason Robards in his best performance and that's saying a lot), who is left to die out in the desert with no water by his too partners (Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones). After almost dying out in the desert Cable actually finds water. He then buys the land and makes it a stop in the desert for stagecoaches to stop and refresh the horses. He becomes friends to a traveling and lecherous preacher (well played by David Warner) and a sweet prostitute, Hilly (played by the sweet faced Stella Stevens). But what Cable is mainly doing is lying in wait for the time that he runs into his former partners again.

It's a simple fable told with very little violence, and it's well told. It's definitely not the film that you would expect from the man who made the Wild Bunch. Warner Bros. who released it didn't know what to do with it and just threw out at the public with very little publicity, and the film never go the attention that it should have. Hopefully future film scholars with rediscover this gem and lift it from obscurity.

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