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Teenager Ben Mockridge feels life in a Wild West farm town has nothing better to offer then horse-cart racing with other hicks, so he naively begs cattle company owner Frank Culpepper to engage him as youngest cowboy for a long cattle trail to a fort, his mother barely notices. Ben doesn't even seem to get it when he's told to report as 'little Mary' to the old cook, whose words cowboy is something you do only if you have nothing better gradually become clear. Instead of an exciting heroic macho life, it's endless hard work, dumb chores and embarrassment, even getting literally caught with his pants down, robbed of his horse, witnessing unpunished crimes... Written by
"The only thing I like about this job is going into town, and getting out of town"
Others have summarized this film quite well. I would only add that it's unique in being the only good film I can readily remember that consists of nothing but supporting players. Not a star among 'em. Billy Bush Green, Geoffrey Lewis, Luke Askew, Bo Hopkins and many others are indelibly played, e.g., the stuttering barkeep who keeps a "genuine former virgin" in the back room; the Mexican cantina owner who keeps a rattlesnake in a jar and wins money from customers by betting they can't hold their hand against the glass when the snake strikes; the preacher who declares of the land his followers stop at as the "place God has chosen for us" until the shooting starts and he decides to move because "God was only testing us."
Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette it ain't. Catch it if you can.
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