6.7/10
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45 user 20 critic

Cowboy (1958)

Approved | | Western | 23 March 1958 (Japan)
An idealistic tenderfoot Chicago hotel clerk is taken on a cattle-drive to Mexico by famous trail boss Tom Reece but discovers that cowboy life isn't what he expected.

Director:

Delmer Daves

Writers:

Frank Harris (book), Edmund H. North (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glenn Ford ... Tom Reese
Jack Lemmon ... Frank Harris
Anna Kashfi ... Maria Vidal / Arriega
Brian Donlevy ... Doc Bender - Trail Hand
Dick York ... Charlie - Trail Hand
Víctor Manuel Mendoza ... Paco Mendoza - Ramrod
Richard Jaeckel ... Paul Curtis
King Donovan ... Joe Capper - Trail Hand
Vaughn Taylor ... Mr. Fowler - Chicago Hotel Manager
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Senor Vidal - Maria's Father
James Westerfield ... Mike Adams
Eugene Iglesias ... Don Manuel Arriega
Frank DeKova ... Alcaide (as Frank de Kova)
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Storyline

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 <rjmourinha@mail.telepac.pt>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE REAL, TRUE STORY OF THE WEST! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 1958 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Frontier See more »

Filming Locations:

Lawton, Oklahoma, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script is based on the memoirs of Frank Harris, chronicling his first trail drive as a greenhorn from Chicago. See more »

Goofs

During the bull - ring game, Glenn Ford is rolled on the ground, but when he pops up again, his clothes don't have a speck of dirt on them. See more »

Quotes

Charlie, Trailhand: I've been dreaming every night about them Mexican gals for the last week. I wouldn't take $400 for what I dreamed last night.
Peggy, Trailhand-Cook: You've been talking in your sleep, too. I wish you would think of something else to dream about for a change.
Charlie, Trailhand: I'll tell you what you do. You think of something better to dream about... I'll dream about it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Is Your Life: Glenn Ford (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
Music by George N. Allen
Frequently referenced in George Duning's musical score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No, it ain't that. A man has to have something besides a gun and a saddle. You just can't make it all by yourself.
12 April 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Cowboy is directed by Delmer Daves and adapted to screenplay by Edmund H. North and Dalton Trumbo from Frank Harris' book My Reminiscences as a Cowboy. It stars Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, Víctor Manuel Mendoza, Anna Kashfi, Dick York, King Donovan, Brian Donlevy and Richard Jaeckel. Music is by George Duning and cinematography by Charles Lawton Junior.

Based on Frank Harris' memoir, the story finds Lemmon as Harris, a Chicago hotel clerk who in an attempt to prove he is a man and impress the girl he loves, wrangles his way onto a cattle drive being led by rough and tough cowpoke Tom Reece (Ford). He soon finds that out there on the range, in amongst the dust, beef and perils of the west, that life is far from glamorous.

Once you buy into Lemmon as a Western character, accepting his transference from utter greenhorn into a man of the drive, it really becomes a very good film. It's a sort of debunking of the cowpoke myths whilst playing out as a character study of two men, who are polar opposites, as they build an understanding and ultimately help each other to grow and learn. Along the way, from Chicago to the Rio Grande, there is fights, death, stampedes and tests of loyalties and manhood. The great Delmer Daves directs it without fuss or filler (how nice that the romantic arc is rightly a side issue and doesn't get in the way) and Lawton's photography brings the sprawling landscapes to life.

Lead cast members are excellent, with Ford once again providing rich characterisation by way of layered acting, and Lemmon rises up to the challenge of genre work outside of what he would be known for. In support Donlevy is his usual excellent self, making what could have been a clichéd character (aging gunfighter wants to leave his past behind) interesting with emotional depth, and Mendoza as the Ramrod is good foil for Ford. There's some quibbles, such as Dick York hard to take seriously, Jaeckel and Strother Martin (uncredited) wasted and some of the humour doesn't come off. But this is a very enjoyable film, one that thrives on having some character depth and actually something worthy to say. 7.5/10


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