WriterFrank Harris, Dalton Trumbo, Edmund H. North Release dateFebruary 19, 1958 (1958-02-19) Initial releaseFebruary 19, 1958 (New York City) ScreenplayDalton Trumbo, Edmund H. North CastGlenn Ford (Tom Reese), Jack Lemmon (Frank Harris), Anna Kashfi (Maria Vidal / Arriega), Brian Donlevy (Doc Bender, Trailhand), Dick York (Charlie, Trailhand), Víctor Manuel Mendoza (Paco Mendoza, Ramrod) Similar moviesRed River, The Showdown, Cattle Drive, Hang 'em High, The Big Country, The Far Country
TaglineTHE REAL, TRUE STORY OF THE WEST!
Cowboy is a 1958 western film directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon. This film is an adaptation of the Frank Harris semi-autobiographical novel My Reminiscences as a Cowboy. Lemmon's character is based on Harris. The opening animated title sequence was created by Saul Bass.
Frank Harris (Jack Lemmon) is a Chicago hotel clerk who dreams of being a cowboy and has fallen in love with Maria (Anna Kashfi), the daughter of hotel guest and Mexican cattle baron Señor Vidal (Donald Randolph). When Señor Vidal finds out, he orders Harris to stay away.
Tom Reece (Glenn Ford) finishes his cattle drive and takes over an entire wing of the hotel, as usual. He makes a deal for Vidal's herd in Mexico. However, when Reece loses his profits in a poker game, Harris sees his opportunity to better himself (and see Maria again) - he offers his entire life savings for a partnership in Reece's next drive. Reece accepts.
The next morning, when Harris shows up, Reece tries to renege, not wanting to burden himself with an inexperienced greenhorn, but Harris holds him to their deal. As they travel to Vidal's ranch, life on the trail is not what Harris had envisioned. Reece treats him harshly, but he toughens up and Reece starts taking a liking to him.
When they reach their destination, Harris is devastated to learn that Maria has been married off by her father to Don Manuel Arriega (Eugene Iglesias). When Arriega sees them together, he warns Harris to keep away. During a fiesta, Arriega performs a dangerous stunt, placing a ring on a bull's horn from his horse, and challenges the Americans to do the same. Harris takes up his challenge, but Reece intercedes. Reece confronts the bull on foot so as not to endanger his horse.
On the cattle drive back to Chicago, Maria's marriage eats away at Harris. He becomes as callous and hostile to others as Reece had previously been to him. Reece offers some advice, but Harris refuses to listen. However, after Reece saves his life, Harris snaps out of it. At the end of the drive, they boisterously take over part of the hotel where Harris used to work, much to the surprise of his former boss.
Glenn Ford as Tom Reece
Jack Lemmon as Frank Harris
Anna Kashfi as Maria Vidal, Arriega
Dick York as Charlie, Trailhand
King Donovan as Joe Capper, Trailhand
Brian Donlevy as Doc Bender, Trailhand
Víctor Manuel Mendoza as Paco Mendoza, Ramrod
Richard Jaeckel as Paul Curtis
Vaughn Taylor as Mr. Fowler, Chicago Hotel Manager
Donald Randolph as Senor Vidal, Maria's Father
James Westerfield as Mike Adams
Eugene Iglesias as Don Manuel Arriega
Frank DeKova as Alcaide
The film was released on DVD in Region 1 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on May 14, 2002.
Al Clark and William A. Lyon were nominated for the Oscar for "Best Film Editing" in 1958 for their work on Cowboy, and a Directors Guild of America award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures" went to Daves.