Realism and violence was the name of the game for Westerns shot during the early 1970s. Westerns of this era were hugely influenced by the film The Wild Bunch and its dark realism. Think "Unforgiven" and take it a step further. The film doesn't dress up the life of a cowboy. There is little romance or heroism in the film. It shows with realism the hard life it was to be a cowboy in the West. The term 'frontier justice' takes on a whole different and less glamourous light in Dick Richards (Farewell, My Lovely) film. Richards' film contains some of the most interesting characters, beautiful cinematography and best gunfights that you will ever see in an older Western. Though Gary Grimes is the lead actor in the film (it is told from his point of view), it is really the rest of the cast that makes the film as strong as it is. The actors all do a great job depicting the debatable morality of most cowboys. None of them went on to become stars, but all had successful careers in the Western film genre and for good reason. The film takes the very simple concept of life for a cowboy on a cattle drive and turns it into a gritty and realistic look at the problems often encountered.
Ben (Gary Grimes – Summer of '42, Class of '44) is a naïve teenaged boy who wants nothing more than to become a cowboy. He manages to get hired as a cook's helper on a cattle drive. The working cowboys are lead by the driven Frank Culpepper (Billy 'Green' Bush – The River, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore). Very soon after he starts working as part of the group the hard life on the trail rears its ugly head towards Ben. For the most part being a working cowboy is a dirty, lonely, tiring, boring, and sometimes dangerous job. Cowboys often fight hard and drink harder to break up the boredom of their lives. Ben quickly learns that the faster you learn how to be a good gunfighter the better your chances are for survival. The motto shoot first and ask question later must have been born in the Wild West. The danger factor grows exponentially when a foursome of shady cowboys is hired on to join the group. Luke (Luke Askew – Easy Rider, Cool Hand Luke), Dixie (Bo Hopkins – U Turn, Midnight Express), Russ (Geoffrey Lewis – Maverick, Point of No Return), and Missoula are rough and tough cowboys who will shoot you just as soon as look you in the eye.
-Production stills gallery
-Behind the scenes gallery
-Fox Flix: trailers for The Last Wagon, 100 Rifles and Two Flags West