The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  13 May 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,045 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 29 critic

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


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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Fairchild
Peter Whitney ...
Gene Evans ...
William Mims ...
Mrs. Jensen
Max Evans ...
Webb Seely
James Anderson ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cable Hogue says..."Do unto others... as you would have others do unto you."


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 May 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Balladen om Cable Hogue  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,716,946 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stella Stevens was always Sam Peckinpah's first choice for the role of Hildy. When Stevens doubted that she was right for the part, but Peckinpah reassured her. Stevens and the producers clashed over money and billing, executive producer Phil Feldman looked at Joanne Woodward as a possible replacement. She wanted too much money, so Stevens got the part. See more »


In the opening scene, Hogue confronts a Gila monster. In the first shot, the lizard is on a large rock with its front left paw slipping over the side of the rock. After cutting to a shot of Hogue, the view returns to the gila monster who is now standing in the middle of the same rock with no time or ability to have moved. See more »


Cable Hogue: Four days without water... if you don't think I've put in my sufferin' time, you oughta try goin' dry for a spell. Listen to me! Listen to me! If I don't get some soon, I ain't gonna have no chance to repent.
See more »


Butterfly Mornin's
Written by Richard Gillis
Arranged by Jerry Goldsmith
Performed by Jason Robards and Stella Stevens
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User Reviews

Peckinpah's lyrical vision of the West provides humour and comfort to director and viewer alike.
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Ballad Of Cable Hogue sees Sam Peckinpah in jolly form. There is nothing here to trouble the censors, a bit of violence here and there-and some nasty human traits seam thru the story, but this is purely a funny and touching movie that again deals with a Peckinpah fave theme of the Old West passing. Only difference is here he has his tongue firmly in cheek as he observes the thirst for finance sweeping across the country.

Cable Hogue is a prospector left for dead in the desert by his two double-crossing partners Bowen & Taggart. Wandering across the desert talking to god, Hogue collapses during a sandstorm and finds mud on his boot, after digging down for a while he finds the miracle of water (tho Hogue badly misspells this on his advertisement). An encounter with preacher Joshua convinces Hogue to go patent his spring and make a killing selling water to the passing stagecoach trail that runs by his newly found oasis. After striking a deal in the town of Dead Dog, Hogue is set up nicely while into the bargain he falls for gorgeous prostitute Hildy. The film cheekily (just like Hogue) has established itself as a fine piece by the time it takes it's dark turn. It seems that revenge is the new found recipe on the Cable Springs Menu.

This was Sam Peckinpah's favourite film from his own CV, it's his most personal, he apparently saw a lot of himself in Cable Hogue, and with that in mind the film does gain a bit more emotional heart. But strikingly, it's the humour in there that shouldn't be understated, this was the director at one with himself, and the result is lyrical deftness. The cast are great, Jason Robards is wonderful in the title role, Stella Stevens as Hildy shows a fine actress at work. So much so it only makes me lament that she didn't have a great and industrious career post Cable Hogue. Peckinpah faves Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones & Slim Pickens reward their loyal director with impacting shows, while David Warner as the confused preacher Joshua practically steals the film with his hedonistic leanings.

Don't go into this film expecting a blood and thunder Western and you will be pleasantly surprised at it's heartbeat. Different sort of Peckinpah, but it's also essential Peckinpah. 9/10

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