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Man of the West (1958)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Western | 1 November 1958 (Japan)
A reformed outlaw becomes stranded after an aborted train robbery with two other passengers and is forced to rejoin his old outlaw band.


Anthony Mann


Will C. Brown (novel), Reginald Rose (screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Link Jones
Julie London ... Billie Ellis
Lee J. Cobb ... Dock Tobin
Arthur O'Connell ... Sam Beasley
Jack Lord ... Coaley
John Dehner ... Claude
Royal Dano ... Trout
Robert J. Wilke ... Ponch (as Robert Wilke)


On his way to hire a schoolteacher, a homesteader is left a hundred miles from anywhere when the train he is on is robbed. With him are an attractive dancehall girl and an untrustworthy gambler and he decides to get shelter nearby from outlaw relatives he used to run with. They don't trust him and he loathes them but they decide he can help them with one last bank job. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hear JULIE LONDON sing "Man of the West"! See more »


Drama | Romance | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Jean-Luc Godard, a film critic before he became a director, raved about the film, saying it was the best film of that year. Because of his recommendation, the film has been re-evaluated and is now considered a classic western. See more »


Early in the film, when Beasley, Billie Ellis, and Link Jones are left behind by the train after the robbery attempt, they stand on the railroad tracks debating what to do next. As they do so, the shadow of the boom mic is visible above their own shadows on the ground behind them. See more »


Dock Tobin: God forgive us, we painted the wall with blood that time. Oh, ha-ha-ha, walked out of that bank with 11,000 dollars. Just, you and me. Ha-ha. Claude, riding behind us. And we murdered old Ben Skull together. You held him and I took off the top of his head. Ohhh, 7000 dollars. We were BIG! Don't you remember?
Link Jones: I remember.
Dock Tobin: You were my property. Why did you go off and leave me for?
See more »

Alternate Versions

To receive an 'A' certificate for UK cinema cuts were made to edit some scenes of violence. These included the fight between Link and Coaley, the scene where Billie is forced to strip at gunpoint, and shots of Trout staggering and screaming after being shot by Link. DVD releases are 12 rated and fully uncut. See more »


Referenced in Crazy Mama (1975) See more »


Man of the West
By Bobby Troup
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User Reviews

Another Intelligent Western from Anthony Mann.
22 November 2009 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Link Jones is on his way to Fort Worth to hire a schoolteacher, having left his wife and children behind, Link appears to be the epitome of the simple honest man. However, the train he is on is robbed by outlaws, thus meaning that Link's past and his dubious family ties are all careering towards a day of reckoning.

This was Anthony Mann's second to last foray into the Western genre, and perhaps his most clinical as regards a structured tale of men as complicated as they are conflicted? I always find with Mann's Westerns that a sense of doom hangs heavy, there are very few directors in Western cinema history who have this knack of filling the viewer with such a pervading feeling of unease. Here we have Gary Cooper as Link, on the surface an amiable man, but the sequence of events see him thrust back into a life he thought had long since gone. The term that a leopard never changes its spots sits rather well, but here we find Mann fleshing out his lead character with an acknowledgement that a former life has passed, with Cooper perfectly transcending this well scripted arc.

The striking thing about it though, is that Mann's characters are not the quintessential good versus bad characters, these are just men with their own individual hang ups, they all are fallible human beings, which is something that surely we all can identity with. The acting across the board here is top notch, Cooper is excellent, replacing Mann's stock Western muse, James Stewart, he cements his earthy and identifiable worth wholesale. Lee J. Cobb actually is the glue that holds the film together, his portrayal of Dock Tobin perfectly plays alongside Cooper's emotive showing of Link Jones's confliction. Negatively though, we are asked to believe that Gary Cooper is Lee J. Cobb's nephew, with a difference of ten years between the two men that has to be a casting error one feels.

Still, the film comes highly recommended, the intelligence and dark atmosphere of the piece marks it out for worthwhile emotional investment, whilst Cooper's two main fights (both different) are seriously great cinema. 8.5/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

1 November 1958 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Man of the West See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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