This 1968 film shows all fimmakers how you make a spoof. It is a total send up of the Western genre. Written by Paul Morrissey (The Hound of Baskervilles – 1978, L’Amour) and directed by Andy Warhol (The Andy Warhol Story, L’Amour), the film is filled with plenty of chuckles and even more sex.
It is the wild west and Ramona Alvarez (Viva – The Man Without a Face, Paris, Texas) runs a rather run down brothel, who has as her closest friend a male nurse (Taylor Mead – Midnight Cowboy, Coffee and Cigarettes), runs into five cowboys who are all gay. The seven now are travelling together. Once they run into a handsome stranger everything changes.
The drifter has everyone, except the transvestite sheriff (Francis Francine – No President), of the seven hot and bothered. Worked up into a sexual frenzy the cowboys rape Ramona. She then sleeps with the drifter and shortly afterwards tries to get him to agree to a suicide pact. The drifter is not down with that and leaves with another man.
Funny, cruel, nonsensical, and surreal. These are the elements that pop out at you while watching Lonesome Cowboys. This is prototypical Warhol. It is his life done as a Western. Filled with sex and sarcasm, Warhol tries to forward his view of male friendship and how next to impossible it is to remain righteous in this complex world. It is a Western without any gunfights or fights of any type. You realize quite early on that there is going to be precious little typical testosterone laden stuff going on here. This is Warhol freeing men from the typical Hollywood or Western genre stereotypes of expected behaviour.
Exactly what you would expect from Warhol. The dialogue is campy and shows no respect or minding of boundaries. In one scene, the cowboys are doing ballet stretches on a horse hitch. The performances are all wacky and silly. You sit through it wondering how this film got made and even more about how it got shown in theatres.
It should be appreciated for the time capsule of Warhol’s world and mind that it is. Manages to honestly capture on film the minds and comportment of a very outside of the typical boundaries slice of a generation.