Edit
The Cowboys (1972) Poster

(1972)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (5)
Despite their political and social opinion differences, John Wayne and Roscoe Lee Browne shared a love of poetry. They sometimes quoted their favorite verses between takes.
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.
Mark Rydell originally sought George C. Scott for the role of Wil Andersen because he despised John Wayne's views on the Vietnam War and other aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Ironically, some critics in 1972 believed that the way in which Wayne's character drafts the children out of school was a pro-war allegory for Vietnam.
John Wayne actually pleaded with director Mark Rydell to allow him to play Wil Anderson.
The film takes place in late 1876. This can be observed in that: First, Wil Andersen notes that his older son would be nearly 40, and the tombstones of his sons Matthew and Lucius indicate their births in 1836 and 1837; and second, that upon later finding a skeleton with a spear in it, Andersen points out to one of the boys the nearby site of the Battle of Little Big Horn, which occurred in late June 1876.
Several of the boys' parents are played by their real-life parents.
Film debut of Robert Carradine.
Richard Farnsworth plays a member of Asa Watts' gang, one of the first roles in which his face is actually seen on screen. Farnsworth had been a stuntman and extra since the 1930s.
The tune that is played on guitar at the camp fire is "Guitar Concerto in D Major" by Antonio Vivaldi.
Roscoe Lee Browne later said, "Some critics complained that I spoke too well to be believable. When a critic makes that remark, I think, if I had said, 'Yassuh, boss' to John Wayne, then the critic would have taken a shine to me."
Robert Carradine (Slim) is the youngest son of actor John Carradine, who appeared with John Wayne in The Shootist (1976), as an undertaker. He was also in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), but they didn't appear together.
The poem read in the school, starting "Hail to thee blithe spirit/ Bird thou never wert . . . " is "To A Skylark" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
As Wil Anderson is berating one of the boys for not yelling loudly enough while Slim is drowning, he says "Tryin' don't get it done." This echos John Waynes line, "Tryin' don't get it done, Dude" to Dean Martin's character in Rio Bravo (1959).
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Shortly before filming began John Wayne gave an interview with "Playboy" magazine in May 1971 which caused controversy over his views on the civil rights movement, the treatment of Native American Indians, and gay rights.
7 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Wil Anderson and Jebediah Nightlinger always refer to each other as "Mister", never by their characters' first names.
6 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Bruce Dern's character's name is listed here as "Long Hair". It was actually "Asa Watts".
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the opening cast credits, the young actors portraying the cowboys are presented after Maggie Costain, while the end credits list them after Colleen Dewhurst.
3 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Mr. Nightlinger (Roscoe Lee Brown) first meets John Wayne's character Mr. Anderson and is asked about his experience in cattle drives....he mentions the Oregon trail, Chisum and Sante Fe. John Wayne played John Chisum in the film "Chisum" previously in 1970.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Opening credits: The story, all names, characters and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, living or dead, is intended or should be inferred.
0 of 16 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When John Wayne informed Bruce Dern that Dern's character would shoot Wayne's, he told Dern that audiences would hate him for it. Dern responded by saying, "Yeah, but they'll sure love me in Berkeley."
Shortly after the film's release, Bruce Dern received death threats for his character killing John Wayne by shooting him in the back.
Bruce Dern claimed that John Wayne was drunk and reeked of whiskey the morning he filmed his death scene.
Charles Tyner, who played the stonemason that carved Wil Anderson's gravestone, played another stonemason specializing in memorials four years later in Family Plot (1976). That film also starred Bruce Dern (this time as the protagonist) and also featured a score by John Williams.
This was the SECOND movie in which John Wayne had a death scene...the first was The Alamo (1960). Well, after Wake of the Red Witch (1948) where the giant octopus later stolen by Edward D. Wood Jr. for use in Bride of the Monster (1955), killed him And after that, Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) where he is shot. And of course, his bit role in Central Airport (1933), except he evidently was an already dead copilot, but that still is a death scene. He also had a death scene in The Fighting Seabees (1944).
6 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page