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 ...
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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 »
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
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 <email@example.com>
"The Cowboys" gives a solid performance by John Wayne, with excellent support from Roscoe Lee Browne and especially Bruce Dern.
John Wayne plays his role well as the aging rancher who needs to get his herd on the trail and has trouble finding help. He shows softer moments than is typical for him, and seems almost wistful at times.
The supporting cast of about a dozen boys who end up helping him do a pretty good job as well. When the film gets under way, the boys make you think you are in for a relatively smooth ride, but some of the later scenes get pretty intense.
Browne has the somewhat trite role of a wisdom-dispensing African-American, but he does have some good lines that he does well with. Whereas many films today might downplay the issue of his skin color, "The Cowboys" has fairly realistic reactions from a variety of people to a black man working in the West.
Bruce Dern comes off as one of the creepiest bad guys in a Western. In early scenes his (unnamed) character tries to pass himself off as smooth and sweet-talking, but eventually his true colors show, and he is downright scary. He has an especially frightening confrontation with one of the boys, and a wild-eyed showdown with John Wayne that really cements him as one of the worst bad guys ever played in a Western.
The story is pretty much by the book, with only one big surprise in a fight near the end. It also takes a little while to get going, but by the first scene with the boys in the corral, it hums along.
On the whole, a good Western with some excellent acting.
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