Comes a Horseman (1978)

PG  |   |  Drama, Western, Romance  |  25 October 1978 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,614 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

Ella Connors is a single woman who gets pressured to sell her failing cattle farm to her corrupt ex suitor, Jacob Ewing. She asks for help from her neighbor, Frank Athearn. As Ella and ... See full summary »


0Check in

Watch Now

Free at IMDb

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rollover (1981)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An Arab oil organization devises a plan to wreck the world economy in order to cause anarchy and chaos.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jane Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Hume Cronyn
Comedy | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine
Dream Lover (1986)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

After she's been attacked in her apartment, Cathy starts reliving the event in her dreams. She seeks help at a sleep disorder research center, but in doing so she encounters some unexpected... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Kristy McNichol, Ben Masters, Paul Shenar
Orphans (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The two brothers Treat and Philip lived alone since they were kids. Interdependent they dwell in a loft house and live on little thefts, until an aging minor criminal moves in with them and takes over the role of a father.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Albert Finney, Matthew Modine, Kevin Anderson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

American Walter Elbertson, in his late teens, is feeling lost within his family of overachievers. Thirty-something Englishwoman Lila Fisher is emotionally repressed. The two meet on their ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Maggie Smith, Timothy Bottoms, Don Jaime de Mora y Aragón
Certificate: M Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two students from neighboring colleges in upstate New York are swept up in a tragic romantic interlude calling for a maturity of vision beyond their experience of capabilities. Pookie Adams... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Wendell Burton, Tim McIntire
Starting Over (1979)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A divorced man falls in love, but somehow he can't get over his ex-wife. This affects his love life in comic ways. Based on Dan Wakefield's novel.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Candice Bergen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When an upwardly mobile couple find themselves unemployed and in debt, they turn to armed robbery in desperation.

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Jane Fonda, George Segal, Ed McMahon
The Dollmaker (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Jane Fonda gives an Emmy-winning performance as Gertie Nevels, a pioneer woman and the mother of five from the Kentucky hills who is forced to uproot her children to follow her husband ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Petrie
Stars: Jane Fonda, Levon Helm, Amanda Plummer
Certificate: M Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Three years after his divorce from his model-wife is the psychologist Larry Livingstone ready for a new commitment. He falls in love with the young widow Beth who has two children. But Beth... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Alice Krige, Farrah Fawcett
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A struggling widow falls in love with an illiterate short-order cook whom she teaches to read and write in her kitchen each night.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, Swoosie Kurtz


Complete credited cast:
Frank 'Buck' Athearn
Jacob 'J.W.' Ewing
George Grizzard ...
Neil Atkinson
Julie Blocker
Billy Joe Meynert
Virgil Hoverton
George Bascomb
James Kline ...
Ralph Cole
Emil Kroegh
Clifford A. Pellow ...
Cattle Buyer


Ella Connors is a single woman who gets pressured to sell her failing cattle farm to her corrupt ex suitor, Jacob Ewing. She asks for help from her neighbor, Frank Athearn. As Ella and Frank fight back through stampedes, jealousy, betrayal, and sabotage...they eventually find love. Written by cactusjump

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of love and freedom See more »


Drama | Western | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comes a Horseman Wild and Free  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of two 20th century contemporary western genre pieces that actress Jane Fonda starred in during the 1970s. The films were Comes a Horseman (1978) and The Electric Horseman (1979). Both featured the word "Horseman" in the title. See more »


After Ewing is told he will lose his ranch if he doesn't allow testing for oil, Frank and Ella are shown chasing cattle while swinging their ropes...left handed. In the next scene they are shown roping right handed. See more »

Crazy Credits

Our thanks to the Forest Service for allowing us to film in the Coconino National Forest See more »


Referenced in Avengers: United They Stand: Comes a Swordsman (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the most real western movies ever!
4 February 2006 | by (Kingston, Nevada) – See all my reviews

I only downrated this movie from 10 out of 10 for the predictable script. I was amused by the comment that Richard Farnsworth seemed out of breath. I am not even Farnsworth's age at filming yet, live in the sticks and I am similarly out of breath when doing heavy work. I have had to quit roping at age 60 due to back pain from previous ski racing injuries and occasional horse falls. In any case this is a very accurate description of cattle ranching anywhere. I have visited places in our Big Smoky Valley where real cattle ranches lived, raised kids and worked in mud, snow, very little for conveniences and without the power grid. We will go to a real cattle roundup near McDermitt, NV next fall of 4000 cattle. This is done by a pioneer family with four brothers, and offspring and is a prized invitation.

Watching home movies from real ranchers might convince some city people who don't notice things like such rudimentary sparse conditions. One example of a goof in the movie was Fonda putting on a watch which would have been an extreme extravagance in 1945. Had this movie had writing as realistic as the filming, it would have been much better. Robards was just to vicious to be real. This was 1945, not 1875, and he couldn't have gotten away with all the murders. The automobiles used, Fonda's 1928 or 29 Model A pickup, and Robard's 41 convertible, the Sheriff's 37 Dodge, and the Banker's 42 Plymouth were all very typical. In 1945, people didn't have the kind of money that they do now, and drove a lot older cars and there were no new cars between 1943 and 1946, and very few 1942 models due to the war.

The simple conversations are typical of cowboys and rural people who work hard and don't play boom boxes and don't say much. They are not driven like city people and work much more quietly. The courting buildup between Caan and Fonda had to do with each adapting to the other gradually and trust forming. It wasn't that Caan was laid back as much as he distrusted Fonda's impetuous reactions at first. The writers really got dialog and realistic conditions right.

I am from a rural background, went to college, drafted into the Army, then finished college and lived and worked in bigger and bigger places and did travel to a lot of places including Europe and Asia. I finally got tired of it, knowing I could create my own job in a small place. This is why a lot of people live in simple places and why so many retire in simple places. They don't care that there are no cable systems, malls, stores, or hospitals. That last long ride to a hospital hopefully will finish you off in the time it takes to get there. Simple places with low housing prices, and a simpler more outdoor life allow retirement poor couples to survive with a decent lifestyle which is far divorced from city/suburban pressured lifestyles. When people wonder why anyone would choose such a life, particularly after "seeing the world" some of it is the above. Handshake business, people who care about each other but still fight and argue, and leaving your doors unlocked is real rural culture, particularly in the west, but you always distrust government and you keep your guns ready.

I highly recommend this movie, I would have given it 8.5 out of 10, but the software is whole numbers, so it is rounded upward.

35 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Jane Fonda looked so naturally beautiful in this movie oldsenior
Dallas TV Series tgramful
Michael Small's great score now on CD scruffy58
Am I missing something? kathryn49
My favorite Western dee1-794-59750
Airplane? Dieselbuilder
Discuss Comes a Horseman (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: