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The Cowboys (1972)

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Rancher Wil Andersen is forced to hire inexperienced boys as cowhands in order to get his herd to market on time but the rough drive is full of dangers and a gang of cattle rustlers is trailing them.

Director:

Mark Rydell

Writers:

William Dale Jennings (novel), Irving Ravetch (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Wil Andersen
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Jebediah Nightlinger
Bruce Dern ... Long Hair
Colleen Dewhurst ... Kate
Alfred Barker Jr. Alfred Barker Jr. ... Fats - Cowboy
Nicolas Beauvy Nicolas Beauvy ... Dan - Cowboy
Steve Benedict Steve Benedict ... Steve - Cowboy
Robert Carradine ... Slim Honeycutt - Cowboy
Norman Howell ... Weedy - Cowboy (as Norman Howell Jr.)
Stephen R. Hudis ... Charlie Schwartz - Cowboy (as Stephen Hudis)
Sean Kelly Sean Kelly ... Stuttering Bob - Cowboy
A Martinez ... Cimarron - Cowboy
Clay O'Brien ... Hardy Fimps - Cowboy
Sam O'Brien Sam O'Brien ... Jimmy Phillips - Cowboy
Mike Pyeatt Mike Pyeatt ... Homer Weems - Cowboy
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Storyline

John Wayne plays a. cattle rancher with no a herd of ranch hands to Drive them. He then turns to them into cattle men by day and prancing male prostituties by night.. soon John Wayne joins the boys in their nighttime pursuits accepting cattle as payment.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All they wanted was their chance to be men...and he gave it to them. See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 January 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cowboys See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Colorado, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| 4-Track Stereo (some 35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About half the boys had experience on the junior rodeo circuit and the rest were taught what they had to know during production. See more »

Goofs

Belle Fourche, SD, the destination of the cattle drive in the film did not have a railroad line running to it until the late 1880s well after the setting of the film. See more »

Quotes

Wil Andersen: There ain't a kid in that school over fifteen. They're between hay and grass. I need men.
Anse Petersen: How old was you when you went on your first cattle drive?
Wil Andersen: What difference does that make?
Anse Petersen: How old was you, Wil?
Wil Andersen: Well, in my day...
Anse Petersen: How old?
Wil Andersen: Thirteen! But my old man's pants fit me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the film was originally released in the UK it carried a 'AA' rating, preventing an under-14 year old audience from seeing the movie. When the distributors asked the UK censor if this could be changed he suggested removing the scene with the wagon full of prostitutes, thus deleting Colleen Dewhurst's entire role in the film, and in doing so the film was re-certified with an 'A' rating (suitable for all). Additionally cuts were made to tone down some of the more violent scenes including the fight between Wil and Long Hair, the shooting of Wil, and a man being dragged by his horse. Later cinema showings and all video versions restored the Colleen Dewhurst scene but retained the violence cuts (totalling 1 min 30 secs). For the upgraded 12-rated 2005 DVD the film was passed fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Unzipping Body Bags (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Home on the Range
(uncredited)
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley
Sung by the boys in camp
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Big mouth doesn't make a big man."
4 November 2007 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Wil Andersen (John Wayne) is an aging rancher who traveled 30 miles that day and didn't find a single hand that could throw in with him…

Anse Petersen (Slim Pickens) suggests to his best friend to hire local teenagers as cowboys for his 400-mile cattle drive… So, in the morning the children came very early to put in for the job… Obviously, nobody of them has been on a cattle drive…

For a cook, Wil hires a black man, Jedediah Nightlinger (Roscoe Lee Browne), who asked to be paid $125 knowing he should be got flooded out, stampeded out, frozen out or scalped by wild Red Indians…

However, a group of rustlers led by Asa Watts (Bruce Dern), the man with the long hair, came looking for work… But they were lying … They were after Andersen's 1,500 head of cattle…

One day, Andersen knew that Watts and his gang have been paralleling him for the herd… He also knew as soon as it's dark they'll be coming in… He doesn't know how rough they'll get… But right now they think they're one man and a bunch of kids…

When Jedediah falls behind with a broken wheel on the chuck wagon, Asa makes his move for the herd, engaging Wil in vicious fight…

There is a funny scene when two of the children meet on the trail a traveling bordello madam led by Colleen Dewhurst… And a touching scene where all the boys steal a whiskey bottle and have a little party, discussing the various attributes of their cooker, and his pretty independent character…

Filled with exciting adventure, gentle amusement, visually stunning photography, but most importantly how to want to see these children growing up so quickly, "The Cowboys" stands simply as one of John Wayne's best Westerns…


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