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Young Guns (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  12 August 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 40,362 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 120 user | 48 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.



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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sharon Thomas Cain ...
Susan McSween (as Sharon Thomas)
Thomas Callaway ...
Texas Joe Grant (as Tom Callaway)


1878 in New Mexico: John Tunstall picks up young gun men from the road to have them work on his ranch, but also to teach them reading and to civilize them. However he's a thorn in the side of the rich rancher Murphy, as he's a competitor in selling cattle. One day he's shot by Murphy's men. Judge Wilson can't do anything, since Sheriff Brady is one of Murphy's men. But attorney Alex persuades him to constitute Tunstall's young friends to Deputies and give them warrants of arrest for the murderers. Instead of arresting them, William Bonney just shoots them down. Soon the 5 guys become famous and William gets the name "Billie the Kid" - but they're also chased by dozens of Murphy's men and the army. The people however honor him as fighter for justice. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The odds were a hundred to one. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jovenes Pistoleros  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)


$44,726,644 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tom Cruise was disguised with a mustache and is hiding behind the barricades on the street during the shootout. See more »


As the Regulators are returning home from the New Year's dance, they shoot at a bunch of pheasants. Pheasants do not live in Lincoln County, NM, nor were they prevalent in the US during the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881. Pheasant pairs were released in 1881 in Oregon, and propagated from there. See more »


Richard Brewer: Papers can't do anything right.
See more »


Referenced in Birds of a Feather: Young Guns (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

A pack of young stars take on the western legend known as Billy the Kid.
6 July 2007 | by (Front Royal, VA) – See all my reviews

The year is 1870 and the place is Lincoln County in New Mexico territory. A young William H. Bonney is rescued from a possible hanging by John Tunstall, who befriends the youth and makes him part of the family of young guns known as Regulators. This puts Billy in the midst of a territorial dispute between Tunstall and the Santa Fe Ring, led by Lawrence G. Murphy, villainously portrayed by Jack Palance. Another western legend, Pat Garrett, is played by Patrick Wayne, the son, of course, of John Wayne.

After the killing of Tunstall by Murphy's henchmen, the Regulators and Billy hit on all cylinders in extracting revenge for the slaughter of their benefactor. The Regulators are branded as outlaws, and the "legal forces" of Murphy attempt to pare them down to nothing. This leads to a final shootout on the streets of Lincoln, and very few of the original Regulators escape, which leads to the sequel of "Young Guns," appropriately called "Young Guns II." The cast of young and upcoming Hollywood stars include Emilio Estevez as Billy, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Casey Siemaszko, and Dermot Mulroney.

One final note: the DVD includes as part of its special features section a Trivia Track, which flashes western facts and information about the stars or the characters being portrayed on screen without detracting from the viewing of the film. This is worth seeing and owning.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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