Old Cowboy Movies

Thursday, March 24 by Wendy Adams

Modern day cowboy movies can’t compare to the classic old cowboy movies and cowboy stars of the past. Classic cowboy movies are about rugged life on the range fighting Indians, moving a herd of cows over the trail, settling territories, the birth of new towns or states, and romance.

  1. Angel and the Badman” (1947) A infamous cowboy gunslinger Quirt Evans (John Wayne) is nursed back to health in the home of Quakers by their daughter Penelope (Gail Russell) and stays long enough to seek a more peaceful life void of enemy gunslingers and lawmen.
  2. Stagecoach” (1939) Classic John Ford cowboy movie about passengers on a stagecoach journey that include the escaped prisoner cowboy the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), the banished prostitute Dallas (Claire Trevor), banished town drunk Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell), and others.
  3. The Westerner” (1940) Judge Roy Bean (Walter Brennan won the Oscar for his performance), the hanging judge is outsmarted by a shrewd cowboy named Cole Harden (Gary Cooper) accused of horse stealing and condemned to hang, by convincing the Judge he has met Lily Langtree and has a lock of her hair. They become friends only to end up on opposite sides of a range war.
  4. High Noon” (1952) Newly married Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is resigning to become a storekeeper in another town but finds he must face a dangerous cowboy he sent to prison Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) coming in on the noon train. No one in the town is willing to help him. The story is told in real time as the clock ticks on to noon. Grace Kelly as Amy Fowler Kane. Winner of four Academy Awards.
  5. Shane” (1953) One of the best cowboy movies every made stars Allan Ladd as Shane a drifting cowboy and notorious gunslinger who settles down on a homestead as a ranch hand to Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) to escape his past but gets sucked into local trouble. Jean Arthur plays Marian Starrett, Joe’s wife, and Brandon De Wilde is their son Joey Starrett. Oscar winner.
  6. Jubal” (1956) Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) is a wounded cowboy who is found and taken in by rancher (Shep Horgan) Ernest Borgnine. He clashes with foreman Pinky Pinkum (Rod Steiger) and fights off the advances of Mae Horgan (Valerie French), Shep’s wife, which creates big trouble on the ranch.
  7. The Big Country” (1958) A sea Captain James McKay (Gregory Peck) moves west to join his fiancée Patricia Terrill (Carroll Baker) and is tormented by evil cowboy Buck Hannassey (Chuck Conners) and he is drawn into a family feud over land. Starring Jean Simmons, Charleton Heston, Charles Bickford, and Burl Ives.
  8. Cimarron” (1960) Based on the Edna Ferber novel of the same name, an epic tale of frontier newlyweds Yancey Cimarron Cravat (Glenn Ford) and Sabra Cravat (Maria Schell) starting with the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. A great look at how a western town was born and grew.
  9. The Man Who Shot LibertyValance” (1962) John Ford directed one of the best classic cowboy movies told in flashback by Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) about his life as a young lawyer who went west all the way to his becoming a U.S. Senator. John Wayne as rancher Tom Doniphon and Vera Miles as Hallie Stoddard, the woman they both love.
  10. How the West Was Won” (1962)  The epic tale of how the west was settled directed by John Ford. An all star cast creates several generations of a pioneer family who traveled west to build a new life and built a country instead. The cast includes Carroll Baker, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, and Gregory Peck to name a few.
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