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Lee Van Cleef,
Teenager Ben Mockridge feels life in a Wild West farm town has nothing better to offer than horse-cart racing with other hicks, so he naively begs cattle company owner Frank Culpepper to engage him as the 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, and witnessing unpunished crimes... Written by
It's probably the most underrated western of all time
I've only seen "Culpepper Cattle Company" once. That was in a cheap theater in Tokyo in 1973 that showed three different films for the one admission price of 350 yen, which at that time was the dollar equivalent of about $1.50. For the past 30 years I have been waiting for it to come around again, come out on video, or appear on television. One of the co-features in the theater that day was "Bad Company" with Jeff Bridges and John Savage. That is another underrated film which has never returned. What fascinated me about "Culpepper Cattle Company" was its escalation in gritty cussedness. We start out with two wild boys recklessly racing wagons. One of them joins these seemingly foul mouthed, onery lot of cowboys. On the trail a couple of even morally worse characters steal the boys horse. But the cowboys are more intimidating than they are, so they give the horse back. Then, the cowboys encounter a farmer with his hands as back up who are even more threatening than the cowboys, especially since the farmers have the drop on them. These foul mouthed, gritty, onery cowboys are, by comparison, looking better all the time. They even give up their lives so that some pilgrims can settle down in peace. And finally, we see who is absolutely the WORST in depravity. It's the pilgrims who, to add insult to injury, won't lift a hand to bury the cowboys who have given their lives for them since they have this sanctimonious thing against having anything to do with people who engage in violence.
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