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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Reese arrives at the hotel and orders hot water for a bath, the bellboy brings in pails of water and pours them in the tub. But none of the pails of water are steaming, so they are clearly not hot. See more »
I first saw "Cowboy" as a late night movie on television when I was a high school senior. I really enjoyed the saga of how innocent, naive Chicago bell-hop Jack Lemmon becomes a man by way of his great adventure of driving a herd of cows from a Mexican ranch to the Chicago stock yards so that he can then swagger into the same Chicago hotel this time not as a bellboy in a monkey suit, but as a trail dust covered, gun tooting cowboy. I enjoyed it so much that I took note of the TV Guide notation that "Cowboy" is based on what it termed the "scandalous auto-biography of Frank Harris", the name of the character that Jack Lemmon plays in "Cowboy". I figured that the book was considered "scandalous" because of all the brutal experiences that Frank Harris had on the trail: experiences which has the Glenn Ford character growling at Jack Lemmon, "You haven't gotten tough. You've just gotten miserable." Therefore, when summer vacation arrived, I went to the public library and looked up "Harris, Frank" in their card catalogue. (You see, kids, before there were computers, we used to look up things on rows of things called "cards" which were kept in these wooden pull-out things called "drawers" in a large furniture-like wooden thing placed in the middle of the library that was called a "catalogue") I found a card listing a book entitled, "My Life and Loves by Frank Harris." But the book was not on a shelf, so I went to the front desk that Friday evening and innocently asked the ladies there if I could put a reserve on "The Frank Harris autobiography" for when it came back. One of the ladies asked me, "What is the title?" I was too embarrassed to say, "My Life and Loves" so I shyly said, "It's an autobiography. Frank Harris." The woman repeated, "But what is the title?" So I shrugged, "Well, the title is, 'My Life and Loves'" A younger woman in the cluster said like someone in a film noir, "We have that in the back" and went to get it. I kept wondering, "Why all this intrigue about the story of Jack Lemmon as a cowboy?"
The young woman brought out a rather large, rather heavy volume which I signed out. But instead of being the cowboy adventure story I had expected, it began with something like, "I remember my first sensual experience as being when I was 5 years old and I touched the calf of Mary Peterson in ...." It took some searching to find the short segment within Frank Harris' some 900 pages of pornographic remembrances of every sexual experience he had ever had between the ages of 5 and 50, which had something to do with his one-time only escapade of joining up with a bunch of guys who went over the border to Mexico, stole some cows, and drove them north to make a few fast bucks.
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