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The Cowboys
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The Cowboys (1972) More at IMDbPro »

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The Cowboys -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   8,807 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
William Dale Jennings (novel)
Irving Ravetch (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Cowboys on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 January 1972 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
All they wanted was their chance to be men...and he gave it to them. See more »
Plot:
When his cattle drivers abandon him for the gold fields, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to take on a... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
C'mon. We're Burnin' Daylight. See more (71 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... Wil Andersen

Roscoe Lee Browne ... Jebediah Nightlinger

Bruce Dern ... Long Hair

Colleen Dewhurst ... Kate
Alfred Barker Jr. ... Fats - Cowboy
Nicolas Beauvy ... Dan - Cowboy
Steve Benedict ... Steve - Cowboy

Robert Carradine ... Slim Honeycutt - Cowboy

Norman Howell ... Weedy - Cowboy (as Norman Howell Jr.)

Stephen R. Hudis ... Charlie Schwartz - Cowboy (as Stephen Hudis)
Sean Kelly ... Stuttering Bob - Cowboy

A Martinez ... Cimarron - Cowboy
Clay O'Brien ... Hardy Fimps - Cowboy
Sam O'Brien ... Jimmy Phillips - Cowboy
Mike Pyeatt ... Homer Weems - Cowboy

Slim Pickens ... Anse
Lonny Chapman ... Homer's Father

Charles Tyner ... Stonemason
Sarah Cunningham ... Annie Andersen

Allyn Ann McLerie ... Ellen Price
Maggie Costain ... Phoebe

Matt Clark ... Smiley
Jerry Gatlin ... Howdy

Walter Scott ... Okay

Richard Farnsworth ... Henry Williams (as Dick Farnsworth)
Wallace Brooks ... Red Tucker
Charise Cullin ... Elizabeth
Collette Poeppel ... Rosemary (as Colette Poeppel)
Norman Howell Sr. ... Jim's Father (as Norman Howell)
Rita Hudis ... Charlie's Mother
Margaret Kelly ... Bob's Mother
Larry Randles ... Ben
Larry Finley ... Jake
Jim Burk ... Pete
Fred Brookfield ... Rustler
Tap Canutt ... Rustler
Chuck Courtney ... Rustler
Gary Epper ... Rustler
Tony Epper ... Rustler
Kent Hays ... Rustler
J.R. Randall ... Rustler (as J. R. Randall)
Henry Wills ... Rustler
Joe Yrigoyen ... Rustler
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ralph Volkie ... Ralphie (uncredited)

Directed by
Mark Rydell 
 
Writing credits
William Dale Jennings (novel)

Irving Ravetch (screenplay) &
Harriet Frank Jr. (screenplay) and
William Dale Jennings (screenplay)

Produced by
Mark Rydell .... producer
Tim Zinnemann .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
John Williams 
 
Cinematography by
Robert Surtees (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Neil Travis 
 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
 
Production Design by
Philip M. Jefferies  (as Philip Jefferies)
 
Set Decoration by
William Kiernan 
 
Costume Design by
Anthea Sylbert 
 
Makeup Department
Pat Abbott .... hair stylist (as Patricia Abbott)
Dave Grayson .... makeup artist
Emile LaVigne .... makeup artist (as Emile La Vigne)
 
Production Management
Nate H. Edwards .... production manager
Dick Moder .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert 'Buzz' Henry .... second unit director (as Robert Buzz Henry)
Tim Zinnemann .... assistant director
Jerry Ballew .... trainee assistant director (uncredited)
Frederic W. Brost .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Dick Moder .... first assistant director: second unit (uncredited)
Andy Siegel .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Robert Schultz .... property master
Jose Abrignani .... plasterer (uncredited)
Henry Alvarado .... laborer (uncredited)
Ray Barone .... painter (uncredited)
Joe Butterworth .... greensman (uncredited)
Joseph De Franco .... constructor (uncredited)
Albert Ellis .... construction gang boss (uncredited)
Hayes Ewing .... constructor (uncredited)
Guy Faria .... constructor (uncredited)
Frank Hafemann .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Oscar Hall .... constructor (uncredited)
Buck Hawkins .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Jack Jancich .... painter (uncredited)
John Jensen .... illustrator (uncredited)
Maurice Larson .... painter (uncredited)
Ben Massi .... painter (uncredited)
Ed Mulay .... second props (uncredited)
Angel Perez .... constructor (uncredited)
Bob Stahler .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Weston Webb .... constructor (uncredited)
Marty Wunderlich .... third props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Richard Portman .... re-recording
Kay Rose .... sound editor
Jack Solomon .... sound
John Ferguson .... radio man (uncredited)
Joe Kenworthy .... cable person (uncredited)
Al Yaylian .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Daniel Hays .... special effects (uncredited)
George Peckham .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Floyd Baze .... stunt double (uncredited)
Fred Brookfield .... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Catching .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Courtney .... stunts (uncredited)
Gary Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Tony Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Jerry Gatlin .... stunts (uncredited)
Kent Hays .... stunts (uncredited)
Robert 'Buzz' Henry .... stunts (uncredited)
Walt La Rue .... stunts (uncredited)
Glenn Randall Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
J.R. Randall .... stunts (uncredited)
Larry Randles .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunt double: John Wayne (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Walter Scott .... stunts (uncredited)
Casey Tibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
Buddy Van Horn .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
Walter Wyatt .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Glen Bird .... gaffer
James R. Connell .... camera operator
Don Lambert .... key grip
Terry K. Meade .... camera operator
Richard Barth .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Mark H. Davis .... photographer: second unit (uncredited)
Edward Morey III .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Gregory Nowak .... second grip (uncredited)
Dave Sutton .... special photographer (uncredited)
Mel Traxel .... still photographer (uncredited)
Joseph M. Wilcots .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Willoughby .... special still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Luster Bayless .... costumer: John Wayne (uncredited)
Lambert Marks .... costumer (uncredited)
Neva Rames .... costumer: women (uncredited)
G. Tony Scarano .... costumer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Robert Swink .... supervising film editor
Skip Nicholson .... laboratory: Technicolor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Donald Harris .... music editor
Tommy Morgan .... Musician: Harmonica
 
Transportation Department
James Antúnez .... driver: mobile home (uncredited)
George Coleman .... driver: s/w (uncredited)
Jerry Courion .... driver: crane (uncredited)
Bob Edwards .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Bob Goodrich .... driver: horse truck (uncredited)
Jack Lietzke .... driver: bus (uncredited)
Wilbur Munson .... driver: honeywagon (uncredited)
Frank Olmstead .... driver: special effects/wardrobe (uncredited)
Jack Schroetter .... driver: grip electric (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Red Burns .... riding instructor
Bob Forrest .... script supervisor
Phill Norman .... title designer
Joan Arnold .... production secretary (uncredited)
Harold Bates .... wrangler (uncredited)
Jack Casey .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Joe Catalfo .... first aid (uncredited)
Marty Dark .... timekeeper (uncredited)
Robert Davenport .... wrangler (uncredited)
Bill Gallant .... location manager (uncredited)
James W. Gavin .... helicopter pilot (uncredited)
Rolly Harper .... caterer (uncredited)
Lester Hoyle .... script supervisor: second unit (uncredited)
Billy Jones .... ramrod (uncredited)
Gordon G. Jones .... wrangler (uncredited)
Ray Kennedy .... wrangler (uncredited)
Frank D. Lane .... wrangler (uncredited)
George Leslie .... location auditor (uncredited)
Joe Lomax Sr. .... wrangler (uncredited)
Stanley Mark .... auditor: Sanford (uncredited)
Gene O'Brien .... wrangler (uncredited)
Buddy Sherwood .... wrangler (uncredited)
Nanette Siegert .... secretary: Mark Rydell (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
131 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (35 mm prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | 4-Track Stereo (some 35 mm prints)
Certification:
Australia:M | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (uncut) (1999) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1972) | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Iceland:12 | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:12 (tv rating) | UK:12 (video re-rating) (this work has been approved under the different versions categories policy 2004) (2005) (uncut) | UK:PG (SubTV: cut by 1m 53 secs) (1992) | UK:PG (video rating: cut by 1m 30 secs) (1987) | USA:PG | USA:GP (original rating) | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The poem read in the school, starting "Hail to thee blithe spirit/ Bird thou never wert . . . " is "To A Skylark" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Mr. Anderson is tying up Crazy Alice for the cowboys to ride, the horse changes from a dark-maned horse to one with a lighter brown mane.See more »
Quotes:
Jebediah Nightlinger:[praying to God before he's about to hanged by Asa Watts and his gang] I regret trifling with married women. I'm thoroughly ashamed at cheating at cards. I deplore my occasional departures from the truth. Forgive me for taking your name in vain, my Saturday drunkenness, my Sunday sloth. Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger
[eyes shifting to Asa Watts]
Jebediah Nightlinger:... and those I am about to.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Road Movie (1974)See more »
Soundtrack:
Guitar Concerto in D, 2nd movement (Largo)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
40 out of 52 people found the following review useful.
C'mon. We're Burnin' Daylight., 25 March 2006
Author: (stevenlshoup) from United States

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!

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Controversy? matthewpkennedy
Who is your favorite Cowboy? Zymm
My favorite line in this movie mag7_1
BEST SCREEN VILLAINS judebonner2
if wayne had'nt been hit from behind (spoilers).... BrissyBrett
Question *Spoilers* powersroc
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