Tom Horn (film)
2005 DVD cover
|Directed by||William Wiard|
|Produced by||Fred Weintraub
Steve McQueen (exec. producer)
|Written by||Thomas McGuane
Tom Horn (autobiography)
|Release dates||March 28, 1980|
|Running time||98 minutes|
Tom Horn, a legendary frontier scout and tracker who helped to capture Geronimo, drifts around the quickly disappearing western frontier. The story begins as he rides into a small town and provokes prizefighter Jim Corbett, ending up in a livery stable, unconscious and badly bruised.
Cattle company owner John Coble finds Horn in the livery and offers him his ranch to recuperate. He also offers him work investigating and deterring cattle rustlers who steal from the grazing association to which Coble belongs. He implies that the association will support Horn in implementing vigilante justice. Horn accepts the offer and receives the approval of U.S. marshal Joe Belle at an association picnic where he also catches the eye of the local schoolteacher, Glendolene.
Calling himself a "stock detective," Horn confronts cowboys at an auction whose cattle bear Coble's brand. After giving them fair warning he goes on a one man crusade to kill or otherwise drive off anyone who rustles the cattle of his benefactors.
Horn's methods are brutal but effective. After a public gunfight, the local townspeople become alarmed at his violent nature and public opinion turns against him. The owners of the large cattle companies realize that while he is doing exactly what they hired him to do, his tactics will ultimately tarnish their image and begin to plot his demise. Joe Belle, who has political ambitions, wants Horn out of the way for the same reasons. Their conspiracy is set in motion when a young boy tending sheep is shot by a .45-60; the same caliber rifle Tom Horn is known to use.
Horn is slow to realize that he is being set up. Proud and convinced of his own innocence, he refuses to leave the country or avoid the town. Glendolene and Coble try to warn him to be careful, but Horn ignores the warning. Joe Belle coaxes Horn out of a saloon and back to his office where a man transcribing their conversation is hidden in the next room. Horn does not admit to the murders but states that "If I did shoot that boy, it was the best shot I ever made." Based on this conversation Horn is taken prisoner.
Unaccustomed to being unable to come and go as he pleases into his beloved hills, Horn seems lost. He breaks out of jail and attempts to flee. He is recaptured and convicted based on the testimony of the newspaperman who skewed the conversation between Belle and Horn.
As his execution nears, Horn accepts his fate and remains resolved in the moments before he is hanged.
- Steve McQueen as Tom Horn
- Linda Evans as Glendolene Kimmel
- Richard Farnsworth as John C. Coble
- Billy Green Bush as U.S. Marshal Joe Belle
- Slim Pickens as Sheriff Sam Creedmore
- Peter Canon as Assistant Prosecutor
- Elisha Cook, Jr. as Stablehand
- Harry Northup as Thomas Burke
- Drummond Barclay as Charlie Ohnhouse