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Wild Rovers (1971)

Tired of cow-punching for a living, two Montana cowboys rob a bank and flee but their employer's sons chase after them.


Blake Edwards


Blake Edwards


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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Ross Bodine
Ryan O'Neal ... Frank Post
Karl Malden ... Walter Buckman
Lynn Carlin ... Sada Billings
Tom Skerritt ... John Buckman
Joe Don Baker ... Paul Buckman
James Olson ... Joe Billings
Leora Dana ... Nell Buckman
Moses Gunn ... Ben
Victor French ... Sheriff
Rachel Roberts ... Maybell
Sam Gilman ... Hansen
Charles H. Gray ... Savage (as Charles Gray)
William Bryant ... Hereford (as Bill Bryant)
Jack Garner Jack Garner ... Cap Swilling


Ross Bodine and Frank Post are cowhands on Walt Buckman's R-Bar-R ranch. Bodine is older and broods a bit about how he will get along when he's too old to cowboy. Post is young and rambunctious and ambitious for a better life than wrangling cows. When one of their fellow cowboys is killed in a corral accident, Post suggests a way into a better life for himself and his friend: robbing a bank. Bodine reluctantly joins in the plan and the two contrive to rob the local bank. They make good their escape initially, but Walt Buckman and his two sons, John and Paul, are incensed at this betrayal by their own trusted employees. John and Paul set out to bring Bodine and Post to justice. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They were damned good cowboys, until they robbed a bank.




18 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 May 1974 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Een prairie-graf voor optimisten See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geoffrey Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original U.S. theatrical release)

Sound Mix:

Mono | 6-Track Stereo


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The scene in which Ross and Frank break in a mustang was actually mostly real. Blake Edwards wanted the action to be as believable as possible so he had them train as horse wranglers in Iceland for five weeks before filming. At one point you can see a dark patch where William Holden later admitted to having wet himself 'just a little bit'. See more »


Ross Bodine: You show me an old cowboy, a young cowboy or an in between cowboy with more than a few dollars in his poke and I'll show a cowboy that stopped being a cowboy and robbed banks.
Frank Post: Well, let's rob us a bank.
Ross Bodine: It'll be safer than getting married.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released theatrically at 106 minutes; the extended "Director's Cut" runs 136 minutes. See more »


Referenced in La mortadella (1971) See more »


Wild Rover
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Lyrics by Ernie Sheldon
Sung by Sheb Wooley
See more »

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User Reviews

Stirring , subdued Western in twilight style , being stunningly directed and masterfully acted
26 October 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Sensitive Western with satisfying and impressive directorial by Blake Edwards , in his Western debut , being based on his own screenplay . The film starts at the ending XIX century when appears railway , big companies buy ranches and new technologies put difficult things for traditional cowboys who are yearning the freedom of the open prairie and attempt to go on their hard jobs . Cowboys lives are divided between months on the range and the occasional trip into town . It deals with an aging Montana cowboy called Ross (William Holden) who finds himself a dinosaur in an old West that's dying out , he befriends a younger colleague named Frank (Ryan O'Neal) and both of whom turn to bank robbing . Both of them tired of cow-punching for a living , carry out rob a bank and flee but they are relentlessly pursued by a posse formed by two deputies and the employer's (Karl Malden) sons (Tom Skerritt , Joe Don Baker) . Declining the Old West and with the stolen stash they attempt to make a new upright start in Mexico .

Sad , melancholic and dusty-looking Western , worthy of genre , with lots of shootouts in Peckimpah style , and adding a phenomenal duo protagonist , though the pace is too slow . Moving and sensitive Western where two cowboys must say goodbye to their old lives and embark a way to crime , while a bunch chases after them . Stands out great performances for all the casting with top-drawing main roles from William Holden and Ryan O'Neal . This melancholic picture is acclaimed like one of the best twilight Westerns and has a nice nostalgic feeling . It's an excellent Western with thrills , wars between cattlemen and shepherd people , shoot'em up , gorgeous scenarios , emotion ; but also melancholy , competition , unlovable camaraderie and emotionalism . And a magnificent soundtrack by the great maestro Jerry Goldsmith , providing a rich, vibrant , and sometimes stark score to accompany the story . Interesting but uneven script and too much referential baggage , including faint shades of ¨Wild Bunch¨ by Sam Peckimpah , ¨Monte Walsh¨ by William A. Fraker and ¨Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid¨ by George Roy Hill . Marvelous slow-moving scenes when Ross/William Holden is riding a wild horse under an impressive musical background , wonderfully composed by Jerry Goldsmith . Moving Western , elegiac , subdued and worthwhile for genre lovers , including great acting by two big stars hanging right in there all the way . Perhaps one of the greatest Westerns of the sixties -as well as unknown- and certainly one of the most likable with Holden and O'Neal in their charismatic acting as cowboys turned into outlaws . And it still looks good more the 40 years on . The dialogue shines with constant wit , the noisy action is spot-on and the photography is best-ever . Even the supporting cast are beautifully drawn , such as : Karl Malden , James Olson , Joe Don Baker , Tom Skerritt , William Bryant , Victor French , Rachel Roberts , Charles Gray and a glimpse of the secondaries : Moses Gunn and William Lucking as a card player . Cinematographer Philip H. Lathrop proves himself a proficient cameraman in this awesome yarn . Special mention for the breathtaking musical score , wonderfully heard when the two pals try to take some wild horses , including a thrilling and exciting leitmotif .

This wacky Western-comedy-adventure motion picture was compellingly directed by Blake Edwards . The excessively twilight tone and overlong runtime doom this brave effort and achieved limited success at box-office . Blake's first venture Western has a nice nostalgic feel , but the pace is too slow to keep a long as well as good grip on the interest . Blake had some hit smashes with ¨Pink Panther¨ series who became him a world-wide celebrity , such as ¨A shot in dark¨ , ¨Return of pink panther , ¨Revenge of pink panther¨ , ¨Curse of Pink Panther¨ , ¨Pink Panther strikes again¨ , ¨Trail of Pink Panther¨ , ¨Son of Pink Panther¨ , among others . Since then , there have been many more hit-and-miss comedies , some wildly unsuitable vehicles for his second wife Julie Andrews as ¨The Tamarind seed¨ , ¨Darling Lili¨, ¨SOB¨ , ¨10¨ , ¨That's life¨ . His greatest hits were ¨The party¨ , the tranvestite comedy ¨Victor/Victoria¨ and of course the joyously ¨Breakfast at Tiffany's ¨. The flick will appeal to Western fans . This is arguably one of the Blake Edwards' best . This consistently entertaining Western titled ¨Wild Rovers¨ or ¨Frank and Ross¨or ¨Dos Hombres Contra El Oeste¨ deserves 'Two thumbs up' .

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