Cattle Annie and Little Britches
|Cattle Annie and Little Britches|
|Directed by||Lamont Johnson|
|Written by||David Eyre|
|Based on||Cattle Annie and Little Britches|
by Robert Ward
|Music by||Sahn Berti|
|Edited by||William Haugse|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Cattle Annie and Little Britches is a 1981 Western drama starring Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, Diane Lane, and Amanda Plummer, based on the lives of two adolescent girls in late–19th century Oklahoma Territory who became infatuated with the Western outlaws they had read about in Ned Buntline's stories and left their homes to join the criminals. It was scripted by David Eyre and Robert Ward from Robert Ward's book and directed by Lamont Johnson.
The outlaws the girls find are the demoralized remnants of the Doolin-Dalton gang, led by an historically inaccurately aged Bill Doolin (Burt Lancaster at 67). Anna Emmaline McDoulet, or Cattle Annie (Amanda Plummer), shames and inspires the men to become what she had imagined them to be. The younger sister (but historically not a relative) Jennie Stevens or Little Britches (Diane Lane) finds a father figure in Doolin, who in the story line coined her nickname "Little Britches". Doolin's efforts to live up to the girls' vision of him lead him to be carted off in a cage to an Oklahoma jail where he waits to be hanged. With the help of the girls and the gang, Doolin escapes and rides off to safety with his men. The girls are triumphant, but they cannot escape Marshal Bill Tilghman (Rod Steiger) and are sent back East to the reformatory in Framingham, Massachusetts.
- Burt Lancaster as Bill Doolin
- Rod Steiger as Bill Tilghman
- John Savage as Bittercreek Newcomb
- Diane Lane as Jennie (Little Britches)
- Amanda Plummer as Cattle Annie
- Scott Glenn as Bill Dalton
- William Russ as Little Bill Raidler
- Buck Taylor as Dynamite Dick
- Roger Cudney as Capps (as Roger Cudney Jr.)
- Redmond Gleeson as Red Buck
- Chad Hastings as Conductor
- John Quade as Morgan
- Yvette Sweetman as Mrs. Sweetman
- Perry Lang as Elrod
During production, Lancaster collapsed from a bile duct blockage. According to his daughter, Joanna, who was on set, they returned to Los Angeles and an ambulance met them at the airport. It was 105 degrees, and the ambulance broke down on the way to the hospital.
"He got out and pushed,” she recalled. “I couldn’t get him to behave”. 
The film was favorably reviewed by the critic Pauline Kael in The New Yorker. " The cinematography [by Larry Pizer] is vivid … the colors are strikingly crisp and intense. The dialogue and most of the incidents have a neat, dry humor. It's a wonderful, partly true story … there are some wonderful performances. As Bill Doolin, Lancaster (who made the film before Atlantic City) is a gent surrounded by louts — a charmer. When he talks to his gang he uses the lithe movements and the rhythmic, courtly delivery that his Crimson Pirate had when he told his boys to gather round. In his scenes with Diane Lane, the child actor who appeared in New York in several of Andrei Serban's stage productions, and who single handedly made the film A Little Romance almost worth seeing, Lancaster has an easy tenderness that is never overdone. Lancaster looks happy in the movie and still looks tough: it's an unbeatable combination. Young Amanda Plummer gives a scarily brilliant performance."