[Screen It]


(2003) (Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Mild None Heavy None Moderate
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild Moderate Minor Moderate Extreme

Drama/Action: Two cattlemen set out to get revenge on those who killed and wounded some of their workers.
It's the 1880s and Boss Spearman (ROBERT DUVALL) and Charley Waite (KEVIN COSTNER) have been fellow cattlemen for nearly a decade and are currently moving their cattle and horse herds with the help of Mose Harrison (ABRAHAM BENRUBI) and 16-year-old Button (DIEGO LUNA). Without any land they call their own, they move throughout the open range, allowing their livestock to graze in vacant fields.

That doesn't sit well with Denton Baxter (MICHAEL GAMBON), an Irish immigrant who runs a small town with the aid of his hired gunslinger Butler (KIM COATES) and the local law, Sheriff Poole (JAMES RUSSO). When Mose doesn't return from their town after heading there for supplies, Boss and Charley discover that he's been jailed and beaten by Baxter's men. With the medical aid of Doc (DEAN McDERMOTT) and Sue Barlow (ANNETTE BENING), they patch up Mose and leave town, but have no intentions of backing down.

It gets worse when they realize that the locals intend to either take or disperse their herds. Just as they confront a bunch of Baxter's thugs, others severely wound Button and kill Moses and their dog. After leaving Button with Sue, the two cattlemen - with the aid of a few locals including old timer Percy (MICHAEL JETER) - set out to get their revenge on those who've wronged them.

If they're into Westerns or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
For violence.
  • ROBERT DUVALL plays a veteran cattleman who wants revenge on Baxter and his men for their less than hospitable behavior toward them. He uses some profanity, drinks, smokes and kills several people.
  • KEVIN COSTNER plays his decade-long partner who also wants revenge, uses some profanity, drinks, smokes and kills various people.
  • ANNETTE BENING plays the doctor's middle-aged sister who tends to the wounded, falls for Charley and doesn't care what anyone else thinks.
  • MICHAEL GAMBON plays the Irish immigrant who runs the small town and wants Boss and his crew dead. He uses some profanity.
  • MICHAEL JETER plays the local old-timer who helps Boss and Charley.
  • DIEGO LUNA plays the 16-year-old cattleman who wants to prove himself to his elders and uses some profanity.
  • JAMES RUSSO plays the local sheriff who works directly for Baxter and has a bad attitude toward the outsiders.
  • ABRAHAM BENRUBI plays a big but good-natured guy who works for Boss and has a run-in with Baxter's men.
  • DEAN McDERMOTT plays the local doctor who tends to Moses and Button and isn't happy with Baxter and his actions.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of a few "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some brief, sexually related dialogue is present.

    Various characters drink and/or smoke, while many characters have bad attitudes toward others. That leads to a wounding and murder that's then followed by several gunfights that leave various people wounded or dead (with some bloody results, but not as many as there could have been). Other violence includes hitting or striking of others. Some of those scenes and others (including some standoffs) might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during various lightning storms at night.

  • Boss says that they'll drink to Mose's health, but we never see that occur.
  • Some whiskey is retrieved for a wounded man before his impromptu surgery, but we don't see it being consumed.
  • People drink in a saloon where Boss orders two whiskeys. The bartender initially won't serve him, but eventually does and Boss drinks those and more, while Charley also has some.
  • Boss and Charley talk about running a saloon.
  • We see that Baxter and/or Poole's men have beaten Mose (we see cuts and bruises on his face).
  • We see blood on a man's head and shirt after he's been attacked (not seen).
  • We briefly see a bloody bullet hole in a man's forehead when he's shot there. Another villain is bloody after being shot.
  • We see some blood on some dead men and their clothing.
  • Sue has the blood of others on her.
  • Baxter, Poole and all who work for them have bad attitudes toward Boss and his crew (for them being free grazers) and kill or try to kill some of them. Others in town (such as a bartender) also have bad attitudes toward them.
  • Button cheats at cards with the others.
  • Some viewers might not like when Boss calls God a S.O.B. for allowing their partners to be wounded or killed by Baxter's men.
  • We hear that Charley has killed many men in his past (but he's neither happy nor proud about that).
  • Charley states that his mom's landlord got payment from her any way he could (implying sex).
  • Baxter holds his gun on a little girl during a gun battle and then holds it on Doc Barlow.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be tense or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Boss, Charley and Button slowly approach some masked men who are on horseback (and we anticipate some sort of action, but nothing occurs).
  • Charley rescues a small dog that's being swept away by a flash flood in the middle of the town.
  • Charley and Boss have a standoff with Poole in a crowded cafe (where it appears violence might break out, but nothing happens).
  • We see a masked figure at a window, then the door opening and a gun being readied as Charley sleeps nearby. Charley then awakens and draws his gun, but he's hallucinating and it's Sue who's in his sights (but nothing happens).
  • A man holds a gun on Button and threatens to execute him. Sue then walks out and tries to intervene.
  • For those who don't like violence to animals, we see that a dog has been killed (no blood, but a limp body) and later a horse flails about on the ground (possibly wounded in a gun battle).
  • Pistols/Rifles/Shotguns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Big G*ddamn help," "Sure as hell," "Sticks in my craw," "What the hell is the matter with you?" "Whore," "Shut up," "Bastards," "Crappers," "He ain't worth a damn," "Damn well," "Shot to hell," "Pissed" and "I'm coming for you, you son of a bitch."
  • The gun battles might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Charley occasionally spits.
  • None.
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 2 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("humped"), 1 slang term for male genitals ("p*cker"), 9 damns, 9 hells, 7 S.O.B.s, 1 variation of crap, 7 uses of "G-damn," 2 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh my God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • Boss comments about the Doc and Sue making little ones (babies), but we later learn that they're not husband and wife (but instead are brother and sister).
  • A guy who's sore from being beaten up says he feels like he was "humped by a 300-pound whore."
  • Charley states that his mom's landlord got payment from her any way he could (implying sex).
  • Charley and Sue briefly but passionately kiss.
  • Boss and Charley each smoke several times (cigarettes and cigars), while various minor or miscellaneous characters smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars in several scenes.
  • Boss briefly states that he had a wife who died of typhus.
  • The Old West.
  • Retribution and revenge.
  • Ranchers vs. free grazers.
  • We hear that Charley has killed many men in his past (but he's neither happy nor proud about that).
  • Mose playfully hits on Button.
  • Charley kicks Button off his horse and into a stream (for earlier cheating at card playing).
  • We hear that there was a fight between Mose and Baxter's men.
  • We see that Baxter and/or Poole's men have beaten Mose (we see cuts and bruises on his face and hear that he has several broken ribs).
  • Boss and Charley hold their guns on some of Baxter's men at a campfire at night. Boss then hits one with his rifle, doubling him over. He then holds his gun at another guy's chin before hitting him in the gut or crotch, also doubling him over. Another is then hit in the face and a few others are struck. Charley cocks his pistol as he prepares to kill them, but that doesn't happen.
  • We see that one man has been shot and hit on the head, while another is dead (shot in the head - not seen), as is a dog.
  • When a bartender won't serve them, Charley slides a mug down the bar and it crashes into the bartender's head. He then shoots a sign and adjacent mirror to get the bartender to serve them.
  • Charley and Boss hold their guns on Poole before chaining him up. Boss strikes Poole (possibly in the crotch) and then knocks him out with chloroform over his face. They then repeat that (minus the hitting) with other men (with some briefly struggling with one over the chloroform).
  • There's a standoff between Boss and Charlie & various bad guys (responsible for killing and wounding members of their group). Charlie then walks up and shoots one guy directly in the forehead (with brief bloody results), killing him. A big gun battle then breaks out, with many shots being fired and various people being wounded or killed (but without much blood).
  • Baxter holds his gun on a little girl during a gun battle and then holds it on Doc Barlow.
  • Charley shoots a man in his boot.
  • Boss fires his shotgun through a wall, blowing his victim back against another building (killing him). Two men then shoot into a building trying to hit Boss. When they go in to look, Charley shoots and kills one and wounds the other. He then prepares to execute that wounded man, but Boss stops him from doing so (saying it would be murder).
  • More shooting breaks out and various people are hit (with little or no blood).
  • A guy holds Sue hostage, but Charley shoots this man several times, killing him.
  • A man holds a gun on Button and threatens to execute him. Sue then walks out and tries to intervene.
  • Sue slaps Poole on the face.
  • Another gun battle breaks out and various people are shot and wounded or killed (with some bloody results).
  • Many shots are fired into a building at one man. He's bloody and is then hit in the hand. Boss then repeatedly shoots him and both then hold guns on each other (but the man's is empty). Boss then places his gun to that man's head, but ends up not shooting him.
  • A group of men pursues one bad guy and shoot at him until they hit and kill him (seen from a distance).
  • We see a horse flailing about on the ground (possibly wounded in a gun battle).

  • Reviewed August 12, 2003 / Posted August 15, 2003

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