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Ross Bodine and Frank Post are cowhands on Walt Buckman's R-Bar-R ranch. Bodine is older and broods a bit about how he will get along when he's too old to cowboy. Post is young and rambunctious and ambitious for a better life than wrangling cows. When one of their fellow cowboys is killed in a corral accident, Post suggests a way into a better life for himself and his friend: robbing a bank. Bodine reluctantly joins in the plan and the two contrive to rob the local bank. They make good their escape initially, but Walt Buckman and his two sons, John and Paul, are incensed at this betrayal by their own trusted employees. John and Paul set out to bring Bodine and Post to justice. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
You show me an old cowboy, a young cowboy or an in between cowboy with more than a few dollars in his poke and I'll show a cowboy that stopped being a cowboy and robbed banks.
Well, let's rob us a bank.
It'll be safer than getting married.
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The Wild Rovers had a lot of potential, but it needed someone versed in the western genre to make it come together. That it didn't have with Blake Edwards.
Edwards certainly was eager enough in this assignment. Watching the film you can see some touches of Ford, of Peckinpah, even of guys like Lesley Selander and William Witney who directed hundreds of B westerns back in the day. But it's like a copy of a masterpiece.
William Holden and Ryan O'Neal a pair of knockabout cowboys who up and decide one day that they're tired of breaking their backs for the local Ponderosa owner, Karl Malden. They decide to rob James Olson's bank and leave the territory with a fresh stake for a new start.
Karl Malden is not just comparative to Ben Cartwright in the immense size of his property. He's a most upright individual who feels that the robbery of the bank where it's mostly his money inside is a blot on the character of his establishment. He charges his two sons Joe Don Baker and Tom Skerritt with bringing back Holden and O'Neal alive or dead.
There's a subplot going on involving a range war with Karl Malden battling some sheepherders who want to invade his domain. The two parts of the story are not well knitted together. In fact, I'm not sure it was necessary to begin with.
On the plus side Holden and O'Neal have a nice chemistry between them, in fact there's a bit of a hint of homosexuality between them. The camera work is fine, but it's more than a homage to Sam Peckinpah.
Blake Edwards should stick to comedies. In fact he directed Holden in his last film, S.O.B., and that one is more in his element and it's a classic. That's the collaboration I strongly recommend.
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