A week with Junior Bonner, a rodeo pro on the wrong side of 40, broke, bruised, and headed into Prescott, his home town, for the annual 4th of July Frontier Days. His dad, Ace, is a dissolute dreamer fixed on finding gold in Australia; his mom is resigned to Ace's roving; his brother Curly is tearing up the countryside to make a million in real estate. Junior just wants to stay on a bucking Brahma for eight seconds, hang out with Ace, find a way to spend time with a beautiful woman whose eyes catch his, and earn enough to get to next week's rodeo. As the old West and its code give way to progress, Junior is lonesome, laconic, and on the road - just where he wants to be.Written by
"I'm working on my first million, you're still working on 8 seconds"
There are many actors who are willing to go that extra mile to convince you the character which they are playing is genuine. Junior 'Jr' Bonner Steve McQueen is such a man. Playing him with the stoic silence as a 8 second ride on the back of a Brahma bull and with the explosive outcome of the trill, McQueen is a simple but aging rodeo star with little to say except when it comes to what is important to him. One aspect is his father Ace Bonner (Robert Preston) whom he deeply respects and quietly emulates. Ida Lupino plays Elvira Bonner, his mother and Joe Don Baker, his ambitious older brother out to become rich. Even though his brother wants him to quit the rodeo and come to work for him, Jr seeks to remain his own man. A noted old timer to Bonner's ambitions is Ben Johnson who plays Buck Roan, the owner of the dynamite animal called "Sunshine", a huge bull which really challenges Bonner. The movie is a superb vehicle for McQueen who is unquestioningly suited for the part. The story does him well and could easily have been his real trade. Excellent film. ****
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