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Tom Horn (1980)

An ex-army scout is hired by ranchers to kill cattle rustlers but he gets into trouble with the corrupt local officials when he kills a boy.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Sam Creedmore
Peter Canon ...
Assistant Prosecutor
Stablehand (as Elisha Cook)
James Kline ...
Arlo Chance
Walter Stoll
Thomas Burke
'Gentleman' Jim Corbett
Ora Haley
Bert Williams ...
Corbett's Bodyguard


A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The day they came to get Tom Horn, they couldn't bring enough men See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I, Tom Horn  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to director Arthur Penn, the real-life Tom Horn was the inspiration for the villainous Marlon Brando character in his film The Missouri Breaks (1976). In interviews, Penn described his screenwriter, Thomas McGuane, as an expert on the life of Tom Horn, which may be why McGuane is also one of the screenwriters on this rather different version of Horn's adventures. See more »


In the opening sequence, the wording says, "In 1901 he drifted into Wyoming 'Territory'". Wyoming had been a state since 1890. See more »


Tom Horn: Listen, why are you hangin' around with me?
Glendolene Kimmel: Because you are a link to the Old West.
Tom Horn: If you really knew how dirty and raggedy-assed the Old West was, you wouldn't want any part of it.
See more »


Referenced in Times Square (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Steve McQueen Western twilight with good script, good cast, good photography, good music, and magnificent performances.
6 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

It's Steve McQueen's penultimate film, which is the star and executive producer. The exteriors were shot in splendid landscapes of Arizona.

The action takes place in the town of Hagerville (Wyoming), between 1901 and 1903. It tells the story of the last years of adventurous "Tom Horn", controversial historical figure who, after many vicissitudes decides to return to their homeland. On the way he meets a farmer who, on behalf of the Cattlemen's Association of the place, contracts its services to remove cattle thieves and squatters from their land. Taciturn and solitary "Horn", has in Glendoleene school teacher (Linda Evans) affection and understanding. The version that gives the film recounts the events that are exculpatory, extreme possible, but unlikely based on available documentation. It is a very interesting portrait of the power of large landowners who kept cattle in the early twentieth century, its ability to reach agreements on specific issues of the mixture of public ambitions and personal interests, division of the servers law between the honesty of "Herb" and selfishness of a sheriff pretentious. The book breaks down the actual time in history, greatly shortening the three years in prison for "Horn".

The soundtrack by Austrian Ernest Gold ("Exodus," "Judgement at Nuremberg"), is orchestral format and has a strong descriptive. Join the visual narrative of the great outdoors pastoral melodies and bucolic air, with flute and strings. Violins accompanied by wind In the scenes of love and friendship ring with joy. In the dramatic scenes are heard strains of sadness and gloom to the sound of clarinets singing with deep bass and drum major. The music enriches and enhances the story. The photography, directed by John A. Alonzo ("Chinatown," "Harold and Maude") is presented very carefully. Stands the description of the magnificent scenery, the frequent use of natural light in the afternoon (which enhances the strength of chiaroscuro), the use of natural light twilight (faint, golden), slow motion scenes detailing spectacular presentation of actors backlit to emphasize feelings of intimacy, penetrating frame close-ups of very precise combinations of light scattered and fragmented light. The snowy landscape of the people is reinforced by the vision of a great white side building and the arrival of a rider on a white horse. The visual storytelling is superb, varied, rich in nuances and very attractive. McQueen's interpretation is consistent with the needs of the story and the conviction is made, proper goodbye.

It's an Interesting movie, melancholic, great sound and visual beauty. It is part of the two works that marked the return to the McQueen film that premiered the same year of his untimely death. Both are a celebration of life.

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