John Wayne had brawled bare-knuckle, gunned down desperadoes, fought jungle wars and piloted the skies. But "The Cowboys" gave him one of his juiciest roles as a leather-tough rancher who, deserted by his regular help, hires 11 greenhorn schoolboys for a cattle drive across 400 treacherous miles.
When the dust settled, Wayne had given one of his best performances. "In ’The Cowboys,’" Rex Reed wrote, "all the forces that have made him a dominant personality as well as a major screen presence seem to combine. Old Dusty Britches can act."
Co-starring the equally memorable Roscoe Lee Browne, Colleen Dewhurst and Bruce Dern. "The Cowboys" is exciting proof.