16 user 6 critic

Skin Game (1971)

In 1857, con man Quincy Drew and his black friend Jason O'Rourke swindle slave owners into buying Jason, who's a free man, and later share the profits when Jason escapes captivity.


, (co-director) (uncredited)


(screenplay) (as Pierre Marton), (story)

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2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason (as Lou Gossett)
Mrs. Claggart
Mr. Claggart
John Brown
Joel Fluellen ...


Quincy Drew and his black friend Jason O'Rourke have pulled off every dodge known for conning a well-heeled sucker, but it wasn't until they hit on the old skin game that they started to clean up. The game is simple. Jason, though born a free man in New Jersey, poses as Quincy's slave as the pair ride through Missouri and Kansas in 1857. Quincy picks a likely mark in each town, sells Jason to him for top money and rides out of town. Then Quincy and Jason get back together on the road to another town, because if Jason can't just run off after dark, Quincy finds a way to spring him loose. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This Dude Gives You The Eye...While This Dude Gives You The Hustle! See more »


GP | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 February 1972 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de los picaros  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Universal Pictures originally bought the screenplay in 1964. See more »


Susan Clark's character explains to Quincy that there is to be a vote whether Kansas will join the Union as a slave state like Missouri or a free state like Nebraska. Nebraska wasn't admitted to the Union until 1867, 6 years after Kansas. See more »


Version of Sidekicks (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

I still can't believe I liked this movie
12 December 2015 | by See all my reviews

Got my breath taken away when I was reading what was coming up on TCM and saw this. I had never heard of it. The premise sounded absolutely painful, even by 1970s standards, and I watched it only to see just how painful it was, in terms of stereotypes, glossing over the evils of slavery, etc. In short, I watched it to make fun of it. And - I was surprised. I'm going to do my best to not spoil the surprises in this review, as so many others have done - I'm writing this to entice you to watch it. Because it's worth watching.

This movie is way smarter, way edgier in terms of humor and commentary than I expected, and the story did not at all unfold as I had thought it would - and it's rare that I'm surprised by a movie from the 70s. Yes, there are some what-were-they-thinking?!? moments in terms of how a circumstance is portrayed, and some painful stereotypes about indigenous, non-English languages - but, overall, this movie doesn't present slavery as anything but reprehensible, and it presents African Americans as intelligent and creative as anyone else - and it's fascinating to watch that realization come over one of the characters in particular. I found the portrayal of the two lead women in the film surprising and refreshing for the time the film was made as well (I won't spoil it by saying more).

It's intriguing that the film shows only the after effects of the whipping of an enslaved man - not the actual, horrendous act, at least not on a slave - I wondered if that was just too painful for a 1971 audience to endure. It's also intriguing that it shows a white slave- owning woman as a sexual predator - something we all know happened, but it rarely gets talked about, let alone referred to in a movie.

I won't say it's some sort of enlightened film, but watch it all the way through - you might be really surprised by the story and the portrayals. James Garner and Louis Gossett Jr. (credited as Lou Gossett) are terrific together - I believed the friendship and the mutual respect - and their naiveté about the world. I don't think any other actors could have pulled this off.

I still can't believe I liked the movie.

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