A lawman from Bannock arrives in Sabbath to arrest all the cattlemen whose wild celebration the year before resulted in the accidental death of an old man.

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Cast

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William Watson ...
Choctaw Lee (as William C. Watson)
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Storyline

While passing through the town of Bannock, a bunch of drunken, trail-weary cattlemen go overboard with their celebrating and accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They return home to Sabbath unaware of his death. Bannock lawman Jered Maddox later arrives there to arrest everyone involved on a charge of murder. Sabbath is run by land baron Vince Bronson, a benevolent despot, who, upon hearing of the death, offers restitution for the incident. Maddox, however, will not compromise even though small ranchers like Vern Adams are not in a position to desert their responsibilities for a long and protracted trial. Sabbath's marshal, Cotton Ryan, is an aging lawman whose tough reputation rests on a single incident that occurred years before. Ryan admits to being only a shadow of what he once was and incapable of stopping Maddox. Maddox confides to Ryan that Bannock's judicial system is weak and corrupt, and while he's doubtful that anyone he brings back will suffer more than the ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He gave the West justice right up to its neck... then rammed more down its throat.

Genres:

Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

4 August 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Law Man  »

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1971, United Artists distributed this film on a double bill with The Organization (1971) starring Sidney Poitier. See more »

Goofs

When Vernon Adams (Robert Duvall) first aims down on Maddox (Burt Lancaster) with his rifle from above, Maddox is riding away from him up a long draw. Immediately afterward, Maddox is still traveling up the draw and looks up and sees Vernon in front of him and above him aiming down at him. The positions switched 180 degrees. See more »

Quotes

Vincent Bronson, Town Boss: We buried brother Jacob here. I had a brother Aaron beside him. They had enough of guns and killing. The dead don't have much.
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Connections

Referenced in Death Wish (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
When You Uphold the Law
19 December 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Towards the end of Lawman, Burt Lancaster says that the towns are getting fewer and fewer who need his kind of services. I guess that's a comment on civilization's leavening influence.

You're a town marshal in the old west. You're doing the job alone, maybe you have a deputy or two. Burt says you got to stick to the rules, but as we see in Lawman he wings it quite a bit.

Lee J. Cobb and some of his employees and retainers from his town of Sabbath shoot up Burt Lancaster's town of Bannock and one of Bannock's citizens is killed. Lancaster trails them to Sabbath and arrives with one of them slung over a pack horse. He gives the names to Sabbath's Sheriff Robert Ryan and the story begins.

Lancaster finds that the men he's trailing are all kinds, some professional gunmen, some family men caught up in the moment. Makes no matter to him, he's bringing them in. One of them is the common law husband of a former girl friend, Sheree North, who's settled in Sabbath.

Lawman is a pretty grim western tale. It's kind of a cross between Edward Dmytryk's Warlock and Clint Eastwood's The Unforgiven. Themes from both of those films can be found here.

Lancaster gets good support from the cast. I particularly liked J.D. Cannon as Sheree North's husband and Richard Jordan as the young cowhand from Lee J. Cobb's spread.

I think more than western fans will appreciate this film.


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