MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,630 this week

The Cowboys (1972)

GP  -  Adventure | Comedy | Drama  -  13 January 1972 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,745 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 42 critic

When his cattle drivers abandon him for the gold fields, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to take on a collection of young boys as his drivers in order to get his herd to market in time to ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 23 Feb 2011
 
a list of 43 titles
created 06 Jun 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 11 Jul 2012
 
a list of 46 titles
created 17 Jul 2012
 
a list of 22 titles
created 10 Feb 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "The Cowboys" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Cowboys (1972)

The Cowboys (1972) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Cowboys.
1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

J.D. Cahill is the toughest U.S. Marshal they've got, just the sound of his name makes bad guys stop in their tracks, so when his two young boy's want to get his attention they decide to ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, George Kennedy, Gary Grimes
Chisum (1970)
Biography | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

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

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George
The Shootist (1976)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard
Big Jake (1971)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The McCandles ranch is run over by a gang of cutthroats led by the evil John Fain. They kidnap little Jacob McCandles and hold him for a million dollar ransom. There is only one man who is ... See full summary »

Directors: George Sherman, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A gunhand named Lane is hired by a widow, Mrs. Lowe, to find gold stolen by her husband so that she may return it and start fresh.

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Marshal Rooster Cogburn unwillingly teams up with Eula Goodnight to track down the killers of her father.

Director: Stuart Millar
Stars: John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe
Rio Lobo (1970)
Adventure | Western | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the Civil War, Cord McNally searches for the traitor whose perfidy caused the defeat of McNally's unit and the loss of a close friend.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Jorge Rivero, Jennifer O'Neill
McQ (1974)
Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Police Lieutenant Lon McQ investigates the killing of his best friend and uncovers corrupt elements of the police department dealing in confiscated drugs.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: John Wayne, Eddie Albert, Diana Muldaur
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Antonio Aguilar
The War Wagon (1967)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Taw Jackson returns from prison having survived being shot, to the ranch and gold that Frank Pierce stole from him. Jackson makes a deal with Lomax, the man who shot him 5 years ago to join... See full summary »

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel
Hellfighters (1968)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of macho oil well firefighters and their wives.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Katharine Ross, Jim Hutton
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Alfred Barker Jr. ...
Fats - Cowboy
Nicolas Beauvy ...
Dan - Cowboy
Steve Benedict ...
Steve - Cowboy
...
Slim Honeycutt - Cowboy
...
Weedy - Cowboy (as Norman Howell Jr.)
...
Charlie Schwartz - Cowboy (as Stephen Hudis)
Sean Kelly ...
Stuttering Bob - Cowboy
...
Clay O'Brien ...
Hardy Fimps - Cowboy
Sam O'Brien ...
Jimmy Phillips - Cowboy
Mike Pyeatt ...
Homer Weems - Cowboy
Edit

Storyline

When his cattle drivers abandon him for the gold fields, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to take on a collection of young boys as his drivers in order to get his herd to market in time to avoid financial disaster. The boys learn to do a man's job under Andersen's tutelage, however, neither Andersen nor the boys know that a gang of cattle thieves is stalking them. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The youngest was nine. There wasn't one of them over fifteen. At first, he couldn't stand the sight of them. At last, he couldn't take his eyes away. See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 January 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cowboys  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)| (some 35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Roscoe Lee Browne was urged by his friends not to work with the right-wing John Wayne. He ignored them and the two actors refrained from discussing politics during filming. See more »

Goofs

In the schoolroom, John Wayne wipes the blackboard with his right jacket sleeve. When he leaves the schoolroom, there is no chalk on his sleeve. See more »

Quotes

Hardy Fimps: What's sugar tits?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Running Scared (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Star Spangled Banner
(uncredited)
Written by John Stafford Smith
Performed by School Children
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
C'mon. We're Burnin' Daylight.
25 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An engrossing Coming-Of-Age story and a rollicking good western to boot! Wil Anderson (John Wayne), a 60 year old cattle rancher is ready to herd his stock to Belle Fouche, but "gold fever" has struck the able-bodied men in his community, so Anderson is left with three choices: Herd the cattle alone; fore-go until next year and leave himself and his wife pauperized; or whip 11 boys from ages 9 through 15 into ridin', ropin' and ranchin' cattle-hands to get his livestock to market. He opts for the third choice and what happens next is as entertaining a tale as the old west could ever provide.

Having lost his own two sons ("They went bad. Or I did . . . I'm not sure which,") from the outset Anderson is ill at ease in the company of 11 virginal children, more at home playing cowboy than being one and his solution is to treat them as men so that they grow up quick and keep him from losing his income. Adding to his troubles is an untried cook named Jebediah Nightlinger, a world-wise man of the plains who happens to be black -- something new to everyone on the ride.

The script is well written and never boring. The dialogue and performances are uniformly enjoyable all around. Watching these school kids turn from babies into men as they are introduced to a world with unforgiving weather, hazardous terrain, their first experience with Tennessee Sour Mash, death, treachery, and cattle rustling is a sight to behold. And as the youngsters become men, Wil Anderson, in his own rough and awkward way, is able to become the father he failed to achieve with his own sons.

There is a quaint and delicately restrained scene involving two of the boys stumbling upon a traveling troupe of prostitutes, headed up by Kate, an older Madam seamlessly played by the late, great Colleen Dewhurst. You can't help but smile at the entire delicious interplay between boys and girls; Nightlinger and Kate.

But every deck has a joker and in this story it is Long Hale, played with wild-eyed psychotic subtlety by the exceptional Bruce Dern. Anderson knows a vicious criminal when he sees one and Hale is the dictionary definition in Wil's book. Anderson refuses to hire Hale and his "friends" for the cattle ride. Better done with the school boys. But Hale has a surprise in store for Wil. He's following the cattle ride and plans to rustle the herd away from Anderson. What kind of resistance will 11 kids have against a gang of over a dozen seasoned killers"? Directed with consummate skill by the brilliant and unheralded Mark Rydell (the man also responsible for The Reivers and On Golden Pond), he bathes the film in rich russets, dark and supple browns, creamy beige, and captures the dusty plains, the sparse autumn woodlands, the cow hides, horse flesh, leather, ropes, and tumbleweeds of the Old West with an almost pastoral beauty. This picture is gorgeous to look at! John Williams contributes a vibrant and energetic score (what else would you expect?) with a harmonica's drawl and wail that let's you know Long Hale isn't far away.

Wayne is just right as Anderson. He sort of softens his John Wayne persona for the role and hits all the right notes. But it is Roscoe Lee Browne who stands out in this film. He is the brightest penny in a cast full of bright pennies. He, too forges a bond with the boys in the moment of everyone's darkest hour through his understanding that they've become men worthy of his respect and praise and, while he may not be able to achieve a surrogate father role, he becomes their trusted uncle and one of them.

How the boys resolve the theft of the cattle herd and exact a fitting justice on the evil Long Hale is nothing short of brilliant. And the arrival of the cattle into Belle Fouche is almost tear producing as the town and we the viewers understand the price of manhood.

This is not a western for pre-teens or younger. The language is rough and Nightlinger is referred to by the "N" word frequently. But for teens and older, this is a great introduction to John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, and westerns in general. It is also a chance to get to know the work of one of Hollywood's true great contemporary directors, Mark Rydell. I would love to tell you more but, as Nightlinger points out at a key moment in this film, "I have the inclination. I have the maturity. I have the where-with-all. Sadly, I do not have the time." Enjoy!


40 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
My favorite line in this movie mag7_1
Controversy? matthewpkennedy
BEST SCREEN VILLAINS judebonner2
Death on screen pzazz_hij
Who is your favorite Cowboy? Zymm
Roscoe Lee Browne (1925-2007) SmileysWorld
Discuss The Cowboys (1972) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?