Top critical review
on 26 March 2016
Stuck without any cowboys to drive his cattle, ranch owner Will Andersen (John Wayne) is forced into hiring a bunch of kids from the local school..
At first reluctant and unsure, he soon begins to share the wealth of his years of experience with the children and a mutual respect begins to grow when he sees their determination and what they are capable of..
Unfortunately though some varmints, led by Bruce Dern, are hiding just out of sight and intend to rustle the cattle for their own gain...
I'll be honest this wasn't really for me. It's okay but no better than that as far as I am concerned. Technically it's well made, the score is excellent and Wayne actually puts in a decent performance, but the story didn't do anything for me and despite showing a few moments of brutality and an action packed finale, does little for the 'coming of age' adventure.
I don't know if it's because there are just too many kids, if they are too young, or whether the scenery just out-weighs them, but I felt nothing for the lads and how they interacted between themselves or with other adults, or for that matter for the children as individuals. The most outstanding and interesting characters by far being Dern, Browne and Wayne.
Dern stealing the show, especially during a scene in which he dunks one of the children, whilst threatening him, in a river.
Personally, I think that if you take some similar movies from the same era: Monte Walsh, Bad Company, The Spikes Gang, The Culpepper Cattle Company etc.. This falls short by comparison. Not that The Cowboys is a terrible film by any means, just not as good as the others I mentioned.
The dvd looks pretty good, widescreen. With a couple of making of/cast retrospectives, a commentary and a theatrical trailer.