The Cowboys

The Cowboys

Mark Rydell (1972)

12 Certificate


Our Score
John Wayne hires a group of schoolboys to help him on a cattle drive in this morose, awkwardly paced and overlong would-be epic western. In truth, this rites-of-passage saga just doesn't work, owing to a cumbersome structure and a rather nauseating pro-violence, revenge-is-good message. On the plus side, Bruce Dern and Slim Pickens are good to watch, and Roscoe Lee Browne and Colleen Dewhurst add thespian dignity. But the movie isn't worthy of Wayne, and is indicative of his lack of luck finding strong material following his Oscar for True Grit .


An ageing rancher finds himself short-handed when his workers abandon him during a gold rush, and grudgingly hires a group of schoolboys to help him on a 400-mile cattle drive. Although at first they feel out of their depth, the youngsters quickly learn to work like men - but face a dangerous challenge ahead as a gang of rustlers begins to stalk them. Western, with John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne and Bruce Dern.

Cast & Crew

Wil Andersen John Wayne
Jebediah Nightlinger Roscoe Lee Browne
Long Hair Bruce Dern
Kate Colleen Dewhurst
Anse Slim Pickens
Preacher Lonny Chapman
Jenkins Charles Tyner
Annie Andersen Sarah Cunningham
Director Mark Rydell
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia-Warner DistsGuidance: Edited for violence and language.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray