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Cowboy Details


The once-scandalous autobiography of Frank Harris was the source of the fascinating "adult" western . Jack Lemmon plays Harris, who when first the audience meets him is a citified desk clerk in a frontier hotel. Harboring romantic notions of the West, Harris prevails upon hard-living, hard-drinking trail boss Tom Reece Glenn Ford to take him along on Reece's next cattle drive. In the months that follow, Harris' idealized notions of the West are cruelly dispelled, though he eventually becomes accustomed to the rough-and-tumble life on the trail and to the curious cameradie between the drovers. The film's most talked-about scene finds a group of cowboys planting a rattlesnake in one of their comrade's blankets as a joke; their regretful but oddly detached reaction when the bitten man dies speaks volumes about the Real West. Also memorable is the performance of Brian Donlevy as Doc Bender, an ageing gunfighter who can't stand the notion of becoming an anachronism. One of the more unorthodox westerns of the 1950s, is also one of the best. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 19, 1958


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William Lyon Best Editing 1958 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Delmer Daves Best Director 1958 Nominee


Jack Lemmon
as Frank Harris
Glenn Ford
as Tom Reece
Brian Donlevy
as Doc Bender
Dick York
as Charlie
Richard Jaeckel
as Paul Curtis
King Donovan
as Joe Capper
Vaughn Taylor
as Mr. Fowler
Don Randolph
as Senor Vidal
James Westerfield
as Mike Adams
Eugene Iglesias
as Manuel Arriega
Frank de Kova
as Alcalde
Buzz Henry
as Slim Barrett
Amapola Del Vando
as Aunt
Bek Nelson
as Charlie's Girl
William Leslie
as Tucker
Guy Wilkerson
as Peggy
Strother Martin
as Trailhand


Delmer Daves
Julian Blaustein
Edmund H. North
Dalton Trumbo
Charles Lawton
Arthur Morton
Musical Direction/Supervision
George Duning
Composer (Music Score)
William Lyon
Cary O'Dell
Art Director
William Kiernan
Set Designer