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The Jack Bull (1999)

After being wrongfully denied justice, a horse trader seeks his own justice on a treacherous rancher.


John Badham


Heinrich von Kleist (book), Dick Cusack

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2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... Myrl Redding
John Goodman ... Judge Tolliver
L.Q. Jones ... Henry Ballard
Miranda Otto ... Cora Redding
John C. McGinley ... Woody
John Savage ... Slater
Rodney A. Grant ... Billy
Kurt Fuller ... Conrad
Rex Linn ... Shelby Dykes
Jay O. Sanders ... Atty. Gen. Metcalfe
Drake Bell ... Cage Redding
Nick Gillie ... Ollie (as Nicholas E. Gillie)
Duncan Fraser ... Edsel Fraser
Ken Pogue ... Judge Wilkins
Glenn Morshower ... Col. Jeffries (as Glen Morshower)


The Jack Bull tells the story of Myrl Redding, a Wyoming horse trader who clashes with Henry Ballard, a fellow rancher, after Ballard abuses two of Myrl's horses and their Crow Indian caretaker, Billy. When Judge Wilkins throws out Myrl's complaint, the war he wages to force Ballard to nurse the emaciated animals back to health escalates into a vigilante manhunt, murder and the possible defeat of Wyoming's bid for statehood. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All men want justice. Few are willing to pay the price.


Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some Western violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack Bull See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title is derived from the names of two dog breeds - Jack Russell and Bulldog. Myrl Redding (John Cusack) is said to have the tenacity of a Jack Russell and the strength of a bulldog when angered. See more »


The same flag, with 50 stars, is waved by towns women when the Governor is having his photo taken in Cheyene with the women. See more »


Cora Redding: Besides, I know more about politickin'.
See more »


Version of Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (2013) See more »


Ring them Bells
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A compare and contrast to Michael Kohlhaas its original source.
1 December 2002 | by jmdsalserSee all my reviews

There are descriptions here that may give the ending away.

Jack Bull is a movie based on a story written by Heinrich von Kleist. The story is called Michael Kohlhaas. Michael Kohlhaas is a horse trader just like Myrl Redding is in Jack Bull. Myrl Redding and Michael Kohlhaas are two alike personalities. In both stories, the horse dealers leave their horses to men who have put up a toll booth on their property. The horse dealers never having to pay for this before didn't have enough money to pay the toll and were told they needed a permit. So they each leave two blacks with the property owners. They return with the money and find the blacks abused, worn, and tattered. The horse dealers become furious and want their horses restored to their original condition. This never happens.

This is the basic beginning of both stories. At this point differences appear in the stories, although both are denied justice and take the law into their own hands. Myrl Redding and Michael Kohlhaas take up arms against the men who have caused them the injustice. The men flee from the horse dealers and hide away. Myrl Redding doesn't kill anyone but burns peoples barns, but Michael Kohlhaas has murder in his revolt. Although there are two killings involved in Reddings; one is in defense of Billy, the other is Grady's wife who is shot accidentally by Grady while he shoots at Myrl and Billy. Kohlhaas has more times to be able to forget the whole thing more than Redding does. Both started out wanting the horses returned but towards the end it is about justice. They seek justice where none is found. Both Kohlhaas and Redding lose their wives due to this event, which becomes an even greater reason to pursue justice. Myrl Redding has a little bit more righteousness in him than Kohlhaas does. Kohlhaas is a weird character, he prepares to hang men for taking advantage of this armed uprising. Kohlhaas in the end wants it to be over and flee to somewhere where a man can receive justice. Redding pursues it to the end saying he would follow Ballard to anywhere until justice was served even if it cost him his life. The decision Kohlhaas and Redding make to die is one that is hard. They will leave children behind and leave them parentless. They make the decision to die to set an example. Kohlhaas decides to die, though to spite the Elector because he has information the Elector wants. Redding dies because he says that `someone has to take responsibility for what has happened.' Myrl Redding says that, `don't let anyone step on your rights' as he says good bye to his son. Myrl does this action more for the morality and rightness and Kohlhaas does it more for just the principles. Myrl is the better of the two men because he is not as brutal Kohlhaas.

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