The Cowboys stars John Wayne as a tough cattleman forced to use some green teenagers to get the beef to market. Handsome, placid and pastoral, the film is a family-type entry, produced and directed by Mark Rydell.

The Cowboys stars John Wayne as a tough cattleman forced to use some green teenagers to get the beef to market. Handsome, placid and pastoral, the film is a family-type entry, produced and directed by Mark Rydell.

Rustler Bruce Dern fights with Wayne and eventually shoots him dead. This foul deed gives the boys enough courage to plot vengeance under the leadership of Roscoe Lee Browne, an urbane black wagon-train cook who previously had exchanged some pithy comments with Wayne and the kids.

The story [from a novel by William Dale Jennings] is long and episodic, and its gentle treatment makes the length something of a hindrance to maximum enjoyment. Cast includes Colleen Dewhurst in an effective cameo as a travelling bordello madam.

The Cowboys

Production

Sanford/Warner. Director Mark Rydell; Producer Mark Rydell; Screenplay Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr, William Dale Jennings; Camera Robert Surtees; Editor Robert Swink, Neil Travis; Music John Williams;; Art Director Philip Jefferies

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 128 MIN.

With

John Wayne Roscoe Lee Browne Bruce Dern Colleen Dewhurst Slim Pickens Lonny Chapman
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more