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Chisum (1970)

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Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sue McSween (as Lynda Day)
Geoffrey Deuel ...
Amos Patton


As one of the founders of the town of Lincoln, John Chisum is increasingly worried as Lawrence Murphy moves in on the local stores, bank and land by questionable means. Chisum and fellow honest ranch owner Henry Tunstall try and use the law, but Murphy owns that too. Confrontation threatens and Tunstall's man Billy Bonney is not slow to get involved. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE HERO - John Wayne is "Chisum" See more »


Biography | Western


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 July 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chisum and the Lincoln County Cattle War  »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


U.S. President Richard Nixon commented on the film during a press conference in Denver, Colorado, on 3 August 1970. In doing so, he used the film as a context to explain his views on law and order:

"Over the last weekend I saw a movie-I don't see too many movies but I try to see them on weekends when I am at the Western White House or in Florida--and the movie that I selected, or, as a matter of fact, my daughter Tricia selected it, was Chisum (1970) with John Wayne. It was a western. And as I looked at that movie, I said, "Well, it was a very good western, John Wayne is a very fine actor and it was: a fine supporting cast. But it was just basically another western, far better than average movies, better than average westerns."

I wondered why it is that the western survives year after year after year. A good western will outdraw some of the other subjects. Perhaps one of the reasons, in addition to the excitement, the gun play, and the rest, which perhaps is part of it but they can get that in other kinds of movies but one of the reasons is, perhaps, and this may be a square observation-is that the good guys come out ahead in the westerns; the bad guys lose.

In the end, as this movie particularly pointed out, even in the old West, the time before New Mexico was a State, there was a time when there was no law. But the law eventually came, and the law was important from the standpoint of not only prosecuting the guilty, but also seeing that those who were guilty had a proper trial". See more »


John Wayne's stunt double is very obvious in fight scene between Chisum and Murphy. See more »


John Simpson Chisum: We may have to be neighbors, but I don't have to be neighborly.
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Referenced in The Rundown (2003) See more »


Ballad of John Chisum
Performed by William Conrad (uncredited)
Lyrics by Andrew J. Fenady Music by Dominic Frontiere
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User Reviews

John Chisum Meets Billy `The Kid'
1 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

As much as I like this movie…

…what its storyline does, especially as it gets further along, is simply to re-tell the story of Billy `The Kid' Bonney. It supposed to take place after Chisum has made that famous cattle-drive and shows the start of the Lincoln County war. Towards the end, the battle between Chisum and Murphy (the war) is completely set aside and we end up seeing all the same things happen to Billy that we've already seen in all the other movies about him, i.e., his relationship with Tunstall, meeting Pat Garrett and becoming friends (at first, then their falling out, well, kinda), him getting revenge on everybody, and the ol' shootout at McSween's store. The movie alters history in some interesting ways, though, like instead of the U.S. Army helping the sheriff (a fictitious character that replaces Brady) during the McSween's store shootout, Chisum becomes the cavalry and he and Pat Garrett help Billy out. The movie ends rather abruptly, never letting us know what happens to Chisum, Billy or the Lincoln County war.

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