The Cowboys (1972)

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  • I understand that Bruce Dern actually got death threats for the scene where he kills Duke's character.

    I believe that is correct. There is a documentary on the DVD that I believe Bruce talks about that scene and what the fallout was afterwards. Might want to check that out if you have a chance.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • I dont know about death threats but director Douglas Trumbull reckoned it killed the box office potential for Silent Running starring Bruce Dern. It came out six months after The Cowboys and the memory was still fresh in the public's mind.

    Dern says in his book that the shooting of Duke in the back wasnt planned that way but developed on the day of shooting and that it is the only time he watched a film in the cinema on its release and the audience gasped.

  • The movie was based on the book, Sue. There are slight differences, but they are close in story. One change, and I'm sure Duke probably had a say in it, is when they come across the "soiled doves" in the wagon on the trail. In the book, Nightlinger decides that the boys are doing a man's job, and a dangerous one at that, and allows them to all "visit" the wagon. All in all, it's a good read. You can still find copies on ebay from time to time.


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • The Cowboys was his last and greatest movie of the seventies! The Shootist was good, but hard for me to watch.