6.7/10
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46 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)
Learn more

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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:

A man's not a man - until he's a cowboy See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Duning's soundtrack uses themes from traditional western and Mexican folk tunes. See more »

Goofs

When Tom and Frank strike their deal in the hotel, Tom says "Get some sleep. We leave first thing in the morning." When Tom and the other cowboys arrive the next morning in the wagon, the shadows on the ground are very short, being almost non-existent. This indicates the sun is almost directly overhead and that it is close to noon, and nowhere near early morning. See more »

Quotes

Tom Reese: Well, what makes you think you'd like to go trail herding?
Frank Harris: Well, ah, all my life I've been dreaming about going into the cattle business. Getting out on the trail and... and I hate Chicago. I'd like to live in the open. You know what I mean?
Tom Reese: Oh, yeah, I know what you mean. You mean lying out there under the stars listening to the boys singing around the campfire. And your faithful old horse standing there grazing at the grass by your side. You do much riding?
Frank Harris: Me? Well, I bet I could ride all ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Sextet from 'Lucia di Lammermoor'
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Sung by the cowboys as a parody of opera
See more »

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 hitchcockthelegendSee 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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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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