When the Legends Die

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When the Legends Die
When the Legends Die (1963 cover).jpg
Cover of the 1963 Lippincott first edition of When the Legends Die by Hal Borland
AuthorHal Borland
Cover artistPaul Laune
CountryUnited States
GenreYoung adult novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
When the Legends Die
Directed byStuart Millar
Produced byStuart Millar
Gene Lasko
Screenplay byRobert Dozier
Based onWhen the Legends Die
1963 novel
by Hal Borland
StarringRichard Widmark
Frederic Forrest
Luana Anders
Music byGlenn Paxton
CinematographyRichard H. Kline
Edited byLouis San Andres
Sagaponack Films
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • October 19, 1972 (1972-10-19)
Running time
107 min.
CountryUnited States

When The Legends Die is a 1963 novel, by Hal Borland, and a DeLuxe Color film released in 1972 by Twentieth Century-Fox.


The novel, about the life of a Ute Indian young man, was written in 1963 by Hal Borland. While it was written as a mainstream novel, it became a young adult classic. The novel is roughly divided into four parts: Tom Black Bull's youth with his parents who lived "off the reservation" in the wilderness of southern Colorado; Tom's experience as an orphan sent to the reservation school against his will; Tom's "abandonment" of the Indian lifestyle and his success on the rodeo circuit in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma; and finally Tom's return to his roots — reconciling himself with his heritage and his solitary relationship with the land and the wilderness.


The film was made in 1972, starring Richard Widmark and Frederic Forrest. It was directed by Stuart Millar from a screenplay written by Robert Dozier. It was freely adapted from the novel, updating the action from the start of the 20th century to the present, and cutting out the majority of the original plot, effectively based on only one middle section of the novel.

The title is taken from the saying "When the legends die the dreams end, when the dreams end there is no more greatness."

The film had a budget of $1,520,000.[1]


A Ute Indian youth, Tom Black Bull (Frederic Forrest), leaves the reservation to enter the rodeo life. He is under the tutelage of Red Dillon (Richard Widmark), a talented man with a drinking problem. The youth deals with the struggle between two worlds and deciding what life has to offer.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257

External links[edit]