Man of the West

Man of the West is a 1958 American Western film noir[2] film starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann, produced by Walter Mirisch and distributed by United Artists. The screenplay, written by Reginald Rose, is based on the 1955 novel The Border Jumpers, by Will C. Brown. Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Lord, and Arthur O'Connell co-star with John Dehner, Robert J. Wilke, and Royal Dano in supporting roles. The film is one of Cooper's final Westerns.

Man of the West
Directed byAnthony Mann
Screenplay byReginald Rose
Based onThe Border Jumpers
1955 novel
by Will C. Brown
Produced byWalter Mirisch
StarringGary Cooper
Julie London
Lee J. Cobb
Arthur O'Connell
CinematographyErnest Haller
Edited byVictor Heerman
Richard V. Heermance
Music byLeigh Harline
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
October 1, 1958 (1958-10-01)
Running time
100 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1.5 million[1]

Former outlaw Link Jones (Cooper) travels from his small town to Crosscut Texas to catch a train to Fort Worth to hire the town's first schoolteacher. When his train stops for refuelling on the way, they are set upon by armed robbers but the train pulls away, leaving behind Jones, the fast-talking gambler Sam Beasley (O'Connell) and saloon singer Billie Ellis (London). They start walking and eventually reach a place that Link knows well: the farmhouse where he once lived. There he finds the men who robbed the train and their leader, his uncle, Dock Tobin (Cobb), who wants Link to return to his old criminal ways and rejoin the gang, which consists of some of Link's cousins. Link has no interest in doing so and has to find a way out for himself and his two companions, knowing the gang are untrustworthy killers.

The film premiered on October 1, 1958. At the time of release, the film was largely panned by American critics, but it was praised by Jean-Luc Godard, who, before he became a director, was a film critic. Godard claimed that Man of the West was the best film of the year. Decades after the film's release, it has gained a cult following and greater acclaim, with film historian Philip French claiming the film to be Anthony Mann's masterpiece, containing Cooper's finest performance.


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