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Wild Rovers (1971)

Tired of cow-punching for a living, two Montana cowboys rob a bank and flee but their employer's sons chase after them.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Buckman
Sada Billings
John Buckman
Paul Buckman
Joe Billings
Nell Buckman
Charles H. Gray ...
Savage (as Charles Gray)
Hereford (as Bill Bryant)
Jack Garner ...
Cap Swilling


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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They were damned good cowboys, until they robbed a bank.




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Release Date:

13 October 1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Missouri  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (original U.S. theatrical release)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene in which Ross and Frank break in a mustang was actually mostly real. Blake Edwards wanted the action to be as believable as possible so he had them train as horse wranglers in Iceland for five weeks before filming. At one point you can see a dark patch where William Holden later admitted to having wet himself 'just a little bit'. See more »


Frank Post: How old are you?
Ross Bodine: I'll be 46 in July. I'll be 50 in July.
Frank Post: Oh, my God. Do you realize in 25 years I'll be just like you?
Ross Bodine: What's wrong with that?
See more »


Featured in The Moviemakers (1971) See more »


Ballad of the Wild Rovers
Written by Jerry Goldsmith
Sung by William Holden
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User Reviews

Don't Bother With This Mess
31 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

The late sixties/early seventies was a great time for westerns -- McCabe and Mrs. Miller came out the same year as Wild Rovers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid two years before, and, of course, William Holden was just coming off of The Wild Bunch when he was cast here. Alas, this is not a great western. The first problem is that Blake Edwards seems intent on making a grand spectacle, along the lines of Duel In The Sun or The Big Country, rather than the more introspective westerns that reinvigorated the genre. Note, for instance, that the movie has an overture and an intermission, Hollywood spectacle staples. The photography is spectacular -- sometimes -- but poorly handled. For instance, in the movie's opening shots we see a pair of cowboys beautifully silhouetted against a big sky as they come riding, riding... Riding somewhere for a long time. This underscores the poor editing in this film: make your point and move on, don't just pile shot on shot of the same thing -- but perhaps I'm being too harsh here, as the "restored" version may not be true to Edwards' vision. But it is precisely that vision that is the movie's main flaw: there are numerous plot lines (some of which are never resolved) and the focus on the main characters is lost. Rambling and self-indulgent, this could have been a good western; instead, it gets lost in its own pretentiousness. What should have been a tale about two cowboys and their scheme to rob a bank becomes a steaming mess of plot lines. I find it interesting to compare this film to Edwards' comedy work with Peter Sellers or his ventures into the private detective genre, which are far better written, edited, and directed.

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