This episode features one of Dad’s favorites, The Cowboys, starring John Wayne. A classic cattle drive Western, this movie features Wayne acting as mentor to cadre of boys on the cusp of manhood, finding adventures, life lessons and tragedy on the open range. And after years of less than favorable memories of a fairly stodgy film I didn’t connect with, I was surprised to discover that this isn’t the middling boy’s adventure film I recalled, but rather a elegiac rumination on aging and the turning of generations, and an examination of the rites of manhood. Featuring terrific supporting turns by Roscoe Lee Brown and Bruce Dern, it features Wayne at his most iconic, and is especially notable for a unpredictable third act plot development that spins the film off into semi-shocking quest for vengeance. We both agree it’s pretty cool. Topics of conversation include Wayne’s ‘old man’ period, the sliminess of Bruce Dern, films this one might have inspired, the pathetic little nerdy kid with glasses, John Williams’s overactive score, the shocking deaths in the film and their aftermath, and a digression in which Dad tells stories about drinking back in the day! Pretty great stuff.
Other films discussed are the disappointing and silly Kong: Skull Island and The Dark Tower. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, and of course on iTunes. Please be sure to leave us ratings and reviews on that self same iTunes, by the way, and if you have any questions you’d like us to answer or movies you’d like us to talk about, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! And join us in two weeks for our discussion of the landmark TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove!
The Cowboys was released in 1972, and was directed by Mark Rydell and stars John Wayne, Bruce Dern and Roscoe Lee Browne.