Lonesome Cowboys

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Lonesome Cowboys
1974 German re-release poster
Directed byAndy Warhol
Written byPaul Morrissey
Produced byPaul Morrissey
StarringJoe Dallesandro
Eric Emerson
Taylor Mead
Julian Burroughs
CinematographyPaul Morrissey
Edited byPaul Morrissey
Distributed bySherpix
Release dates
  • November 1968 (1968-11) (SFIFF)
  • May 5, 1969 (1969-05-05) (New York City)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States

Lonesome Cowboys is a 1968 American Western film directed by Andy Warhol and written and produced by Paul Morrissey. The film is a satire of Hollywood Westerns, and was initially screened in November 1968 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, where it won the Best Film Award. On May 5, 1969, it was shown for initial viewings at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre in New York City.[1]


Lonesome Cowboys was shot in January 1968 in Old Tucson and the Rancho Linda Vista Dude Ranch in Oracle, Arizona on a budget of $3,000 (equivalent to $25,200 in 2022).[2] The film features Warhol superstars Viva, Taylor Mead, Louis Waldon, Eric Emerson, and Joe Dallesandro. The plot loosely is based on Romeo and Juliet, hence the names Julian and Ramona of the two leads. While in Arizona on a college lecture tour in November 1967, Warhol booked film screenings of excerpts from Chelsea Girls followed by a question-and-answer session with the artist, Morrissey, Viva, and Allen Midgette at Arizona State University and the Cinema I Film Society at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Warhol and Viva apparently both enjoyed their time in Arizona so much that they made plans to find a way to return, which culminated in Paul Morrissey's writing the screenplay for Lonesome Cowboys to be shot there two months later.[3] A detailed first-hand account of Warhol's time in Tucson by Cinema I director Shirley Pasternack was published in the May 1989 issue of Tucson City Magazine.

The film was shot on 16 mm film using an Auricon camera, recording the sound directly onto the film. Warhol deliberately stopped and started the camera during takes to include flash frames and audio pops in the middle of shots.

Warhol initially planned to title the film Fuck, then The Glory of the Fuck.[4] Warhol and Morrissey settled on Lonesome Cowboys while Warhol was convalescing following the attempt on his life by Valerie Solanas. John Schlesinger was filming Midnight Cowboy, which featured several members of Warhol's entourage, including Viva and Ultra Violet who, with Morrissey, shot a separate short film during shooting of Midnight Cowboy's elaborate party scene.[5] Warhol initially endorsed the participation of his people but grew resentful at what he perceived as Schlesinger's poaching of Warhol's scene. Warhol decided to undercut Schlesinger by naming this film Lonesome Cowboys as a reference to Midnight Cowboy.[6] The original poster promoting the film, designed by George Abagnalo, is shown prominently in a portrait of Warhol by Jack Mitchell.[7]



Lonesome Cowboys and Flesh (another Warhol–Morrissey collaboration) playing at the 55th Street Playhouse in New York City

In August 1969, the film was seized by police in Atlanta, Georgia, personnel at The Ansley Mall Mini Cinema were arrested, and the entire audience was searched by police for their identifications.[8] The event was considered a turning point in the city's LGBT community and led to the first Atlanta Pride two years later.


A 2010 remake by Marianne Dissard titled Lonesome Cowgirls was shot in Tucson, Arizona.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garcia, Alfredo (October 11, 2017). "Andy Warhol Films: Newspaper Adverts 1964-1974 A comprehensive collection of Newspaper Ads and Film Related Articles". WordPress.com. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  2. ^ Hofler, p. 77
  3. ^ Pasternack, p. 40
  4. ^ Hofler, p. 3
  5. ^ Hofler, p. 63
  6. ^ Hofler, pp. 74–75
  7. ^ Highberger, Craig. "Andy Warhol at his Factory at 33 Union Square, LAST ONE signed by Jack Mitchell". 1stDibs. 1stDibs.com Inc.
  8. ^ WarholStars entry

Further reading[edit]

  • Hofler, Robert (2014). Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange - How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos. New York: itbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-208834-5.
  • Pasternack, Shirley (May 1989). Andy Warhol in Tucson. Tucson, AZ: City Magazine. {pages 38–42}.

External links[edit]