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The Cowboys

Offbeat and intriguing Western, with Wayne as a cattle driver who, deserted when his cowhands head off to a gold-rush, gathers together eleven schoolboys to help him get his herd to market. En route they are easy prey for villains; meanwhile, Wayne introduces them to the joys of shooting, drinking, whoring and killing. Although the film is well performed and beautifully shot by Robert Surtees, its ideology is highly objectionable, celebrating as it does the turning of the boys into hardened killers. Interesting to compare to The Shootist, in which young Ron Howard's desire to emulate the skills of his hero, an ageing gunfighter (Wayne again) is criticised at every turn.

Release details

Duration: 127 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mark Rydell
Screenwriter: Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr, William Dale Jennings
Cast: John Wayne
Roscoe Lee Browne
Bruce Dern
Slim Pickens
Colleen Dewhurst
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