The Cowboys (1972)

GP   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Western

The Cowboys (1972) Poster

Rancher Wil Andersen is forced to hire inexperienced boys as cowhands in order to get his herd to market on time but the rough drive is full of dangers and a gang of cattle rustlers is trailing them.

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  • John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972)
  • Robert Surtees on the set of "Cowboys, The " c. 1971.
  • John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972)
  • John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972)
  • "The Cowboys," Warner Bros. 1972.
  • Signing autographs on location for "The Cowboys," Warner Bros. 1971.

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Mark Rydell


William Dale Jennings (novel), Irving Ravetch (screenplay), Harriet Frank Jr. (screenplay), William Dale Jennings (screenplay)

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Did You Know?


Shortly before filming began John Wayne gave an interview with "Playboy" magazine in May 1971 which caused controversy over his views on the civil rights movement, the treatment of Native American Indians, and gay rights.


Jebediah Nightlinger: You know in the late war between the states I served under an officer just like you.
Wil Andersen: Is that right?
Jebediah Nightlinger: As a matter of fact I shot that military gentlemen in the buttocks. Just outside Vicksburg.
Wil Andersen: I'd of hung ya.
Jebediah Nightlinger: They gave me a medal.
Wil Andersen: In my regiment, Mr....


It appears that the Double O ranch has two different brands. During roundup and later in the film, the cattle wear a brand of two distinct O's separated by about 12 inches. In the scene before they start the drive, one of the horses appears to have a brand consisting of two Os connected horizontally. This brand should be the same as the brand the cattle wear. In addition, the connected Os might be called a lazy 8.

Alternate Versions

When the film was originally released in the UK it carried a 'AA' rating, preventing an under-14 year old audience from seeing the movie. When the distributors asked the UK censor if this could be changed he suggested removing the scene with the wagon full of prostitutes, thus deleting Colleen Dewhurst's entire role in the film, and in doing so the film was re-certified with an 'A' rating (suitable for all). Additionally cuts were made to tone down some of the more violent scenes including the fight between Wil and Long Hair, the shooting of Wil, and a man being dragged by his horse. Later cinema showings and all video versions restored the Colleen Dewhurst scene but retained the violence cuts (totalling 1 min 30 secs). For the upgraded 12-rated 2005 DVD the film was passed fully uncut.


The Star Spangled Banner
Music by
John Stafford Smith
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Sung by school children


Plot Summary


Adventure | Drama | Western

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