Tom Horn (1980)

Tom Horn (1980)

Taglines: See him before he sees you.

A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west.

Tom Horn is a 1980 Western film about the legendary lawman, outlaw, and gunfighter. It starred Steve McQueen as the title character and was based on Horn’s own writings.

About the Story

Tom Horn, a legendary frontier scout and tracker who helped 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.

Tom Horn Movie Poster (1980)

Tom Horn (1980)

Directed by: William Wiard
Starring: Steve McQueen, Linda Evans, Richard Farnsworth, Billy Green Bush, Slim Pickens, Peter Canon, Elisha Cook Jr., Geoffrey Lewis
Screenplay by: Thomas McGuane, Bud Shrake
Cinematography by: John A. Alonzo
Film Editing by: George Grenville
Costume Design by: Luster Bayless
Set Decoration by: Rick Simpson
Art Direction by: Ron Hobbs
Music by: Ernest Gold
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 28, 1980