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Cowboy (1958)

Approved | | Western | 23 March 1958 (Japan)
An idealistic tenderfoot Chicago hotel clerk is taken on a cattle-drive to Mexico by famous trail boss Tom Reece but discovers that cowboy life isn't what he expected.

Director:

Delmer Daves

Writers:

Frank Harris (book), Edmund H. North (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glenn Ford ... Tom Reese
Jack Lemmon ... Frank Harris
Anna Kashfi ... Maria Vidal / Arriega
Brian Donlevy ... Doc Bender - Trail Hand
Dick York ... Charlie - Trail Hand
Víctor Manuel Mendoza ... Paco Mendoza - Ramrod
Richard Jaeckel ... Paul Curtis
King Donovan ... Joe Capper - Trail Hand
Vaughn Taylor ... Mr. Fowler - Chicago Hotel Manager
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Senor Vidal - Maria's Father
James Westerfield ... Mike Adams
Eugene Iglesias ... Don Manuel Arriega
Frank DeKova ... Alcaide (as Frank de Kova)
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Storyline

Chicago hotel clerk Frank Harris dreams of making his fortune in the cattle business. He gets his chance when, the father of the Mexican woman he loves breaks off their relationship and Frank bankrolls cattleman Tom Reece to be able to join him on a cattle buying trip to Mexico. Soon, though, the tenderfoot finds out the reality of life on the trail as a cowboy is not what he expected. Written by Jorge Mourinha <rjmourinha@mail.telepac.pt>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A man's not a man - until he's a cowboy See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 1958 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Frontier See more »

Filming Locations:

Lawton, Oklahoma, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Duning's soundtrack uses themes from traditional western and Mexican folk tunes. See more »

Goofs

While trying to place a ring on the bulls obviously rubber horn, Don Manuel Arriegas horse is shown being gored in the right shoulder, with blood spurting out of the wound. In subsequent shots there is no sign of any wound. Additionally, many shots in the scene show lunges by the bull that would have disemboweled the horse had the horns been real. See more »

Quotes

Tom Reese: And all that hogwash about horses! The loyalty of the horse! The intelligence of the horse! The intelligence? You know a horse has a brain just about the size of a walnut. They're mean, they're treacherous and they're stupid. There isn't a horse born that had enough sense to move away from a hot fire. No sensible man loves a horse. He tolerates the filthy animal only because riding is better than walking.
See more »


Soundtracks

Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
Music by George N. Allen
Frequently referenced in George Duning's musical score
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Daves Triumph
15 October 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Cowboy (1958) is one of a series of outstanding westerns directed by Delmer Daves that includes the classic 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and the dramatically scenic Jubal (1956). Too bad his body of western work has failed to receive the recognition it deserves.

Here he's concerned with de-romanticizing the myth of the trail drive, showing how harsh conditions breed harsh men. Lemmon is well chosen as the cowboy wannabe, worming his way into the rowdy Glenn Ford's trail drive. There he discovers the routine brutalities that help explain behavior as a tenderfoot, he couldn't understand. But in the process he has some civilizing lessons of his own that manage to take hold among the rough cowboy crowd.

And whoever thought up that snake twirling episode deserves an award for sheer originality. I've seen nothing like it in years of viewing. Plus the deadly consequences of that witless cowboy fun is put on tragic display in a way that cleverly revises decades of cowboy mythology. To me, it's the movie's brilliant centerpiece. Still, the film is filled with exciting and unusual action, such as the cattle car that could crush a tank, or the pin-the-ring on the angry bull that's more like a test of manhood than a game.

No, this is certainly no cliché western. Ford and Lemmon are excellent, especially the latter who's certainly extended out of his usual mild-mannered character. Daves directs with flair and some well-timed tinges of humor. All in all, however, I'm still not sure how to take the movie's overall message even though it appears to have one in mind.


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