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The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972)

How many men do you have to kill before you become the great American cowboy?
Movie poster for The Culpepper Cattle Co. 1972 written and directed by Dick Richards

"The Culpepper Cattle Co."

Credits: Director, Writer, Cinematographer

Starring: Gary Grimes, Billy Green Bush, Luke Askew 

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Release: 1972

Accolades: 1973 Nominee WGA Awards, Best Drama written directly for Screen

1973 Nominee SIYAD Award, Best Foreign Film




DICK RICHARDS MAKES AN IMPRESSIVE ENTRY INTO THE WORLD OF FILMMAKING WITH HIS DIRECTORIAL DEBUT "THE CULPEPPER CATTLE CO."

He would go on to become known for a unique storytelling ability and attention to detail, and Richards brought a level of authenticity and grittiness to the revisionist Western genre that resonated with audiences and critics alike.


Synopsis

Set in the rugged backdrop of a1866 cattle drive, the movie captures the harsh realities and moral complexities of the era, setting it apart from more romanticized Westerns. The narrative follows the journey of young Ben Mockridge (Gary Grimes), who learns the brutal lessons of the frontier under the mentorship of reformed gunslinger Frank Culpepper (Billy Green Bush). Young Ben years for cowboy life, and joins Culpepper's cattle drive - a dangerous and deadly journey during an era marked by extreme, everyday violence. Through shootouts with outlaws and cattle rustlers, horse theft and standoffs, Ben faces increasingly violent odds, and eventually becomes disillusioned with the cowboy dream.


About the Film

Richards’ vision for "The Culpepper Cattle Co." was one of stark realism, reflected in the film's grainy photography and sepia tones. The film's unflinching portrayal of violence and justice in the West, combined with Richards' ability to draw compelling performances from his cast, garnered critical acclaim and established his reputation as a filmmaker capable of blending raw, realistic storytelling with engaging cinematic experiences. Notable also as his first collaboration with Jerry Bruckheimer, this debut set the stage for Richards' future success and left an indelible mark on the Western genre.



Reviews

“The Culpepper Cattle Co. puts across… gruff insights about a way of life now long past.”

– Jay Cocks, Time Magazine



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