Tom Horn (1980)

R | 97 mins | Biography, Western | 16 May 1980

Director:

William Wiard

Producer:

Fred Weintraub

Cinematographer:

John Alonzo

Production Designer:

Ron Hobbs

Production Companies:

Solar Productions , First Artists
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HISTORY

The following prologue appears in the opening credits: “Based on a true story. He grew up in the violence of the Old West. He became a cowboy, rode shotgun for the stage lines, was an agent for the Pinkertons and fought with the Rough Riders under Teddy Roosevelt. He made his reputation as a cavalry scout by capturing Geronimo in the bloody Apache wars. In 1901, he drifted into Wyoming Territory.”
       The following statement appears at the end of the film: “The story is done…I am proud to say that he was my friend, always faithful and just. I am convinced, and I re-assert it to be true, that Tom Horn was guiltless of the crime for which he died. [Signed] John C. Coble. March 1, 1904, Bosler, Wyoming.”
       End credits state: “Portions of this picture were filmed in: The Coronado National Forest, Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and Old Tucson.”
       According to an article in the 9 Mar 1977 LAT, both actors Robert Redford and Steve McQueen were developing separate films based on the same legendary Western personality. Redford’s film titled Mr. Horn would be made under the United Artists banner with director Sydney Pollack, producer Walter Coblenz, and a script by William Goldman. McQueen’s picture was titled I, Tom Horn – A Last Will and Testament of the Old West, in which the actor reportedly spent two years on preproduction with a screenplay by Horn biographer, Will Henry. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that McQueen’s research for the role included visiting Cheyenne, WY, where Horn was tried for murder in 1903, and his grave located in Boulder, ... More Less

The following prologue appears in the opening credits: “Based on a true story. He grew up in the violence of the Old West. He became a cowboy, rode shotgun for the stage lines, was an agent for the Pinkertons and fought with the Rough Riders under Teddy Roosevelt. He made his reputation as a cavalry scout by capturing Geronimo in the bloody Apache wars. In 1901, he drifted into Wyoming Territory.”
       The following statement appears at the end of the film: “The story is done…I am proud to say that he was my friend, always faithful and just. I am convinced, and I re-assert it to be true, that Tom Horn was guiltless of the crime for which he died. [Signed] John C. Coble. March 1, 1904, Bosler, Wyoming.”
       End credits state: “Portions of this picture were filmed in: The Coronado National Forest, Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and Old Tucson.”
       According to an article in the 9 Mar 1977 LAT, both actors Robert Redford and Steve McQueen were developing separate films based on the same legendary Western personality. Redford’s film titled Mr. Horn would be made under the United Artists banner with director Sydney Pollack, producer Walter Coblenz, and a script by William Goldman. McQueen’s picture was titled I, Tom Horn – A Last Will and Testament of the Old West, in which the actor reportedly spent two years on preproduction with a screenplay by Horn biographer, Will Henry. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that McQueen’s research for the role included visiting Cheyenne, WY, where Horn was tried for murder in 1903, and his grave located in Boulder, CO. The 9 Mar 1977 LAT stated the film would be made for Warner Bros. Inc. with McQueen as producer, but a director was not yet named. A news item in Aug 1977 Los Angeles magazine reported that Redford and McQueen were not aware they were planning competing projects on the same subject. Although Redford had a completed Goldman script, while McQueen was working with Thomas McGuane on a yet unfinished screenplay, Redford decided to abandon his project. According to a 4 Mar 1980 Marquee article, McQueen and his team won the film rights, while Redford and Pollack decided to film a contemporary Western titled The Electric Horseman (1979, see entry).
       An 11 May 1977 HR brief announced that Don Siegel was signed to direct I, Tom Horn. However, Siegel withdrew from the picture, and a 16 Mar 1978 HR brief stated that Elliot Silverstein had been hired as director. A 26 Apr 1978 HR news item announced another change to the talent lineup, the hire of writer Abraham Polonsky. In a 15 Dec 1978 DV brief, Jim Guercio had been selected to direct, but news items in the 31 Jan 1979 DV and 6 Feb 1979 LAT stated that after ten days of filming, Guercio received a note telling him his services were no longer needed, and he was replaced by William Wiard.
       An article in the 5 Feb 1979 LAT and production charts in the 2 Mar 1979 DV reported that principal photography began 15 Jan 1979 in Nogales, AZ. Production notes stated that remote areas in a 100-mile radius of Tucson, AZ, were also used in filming.
       The 5 Feb 1979 LAT reported that the film marked Wiard’s theatrical directorial film debut.
       According to a 15 Dec 1979 LAT article, an executive from the public relations firm Rogers & Cowan arranged for then-WY Gov. Ed Herschler to pardon Tom Horn seventy-six years after his conviction for murder. In Nov 1979, members of the state Supreme Court and state officials screened a rough cut of the film, and recommended Horn’s exoneration. The press agent requested that the governor sign the pardon just in advance of the film’s release so that it could be included in the film’s publicity. It has not been determined if officials followed through on the posthumous pardon.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1978.
---
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1979.
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1980
p. 3.
Los Angeles
Aug 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Mar 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Feb 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1980
p. 2.
Marquee
4 Mar 1980
p. 8-11.
New York Times
23 May 1980
p. 8.
Variety
2 Apr 1980
p. 22.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Richard Farnsworth
Corbett's bodyguards:
[and]
Brown's Hole rustlers:
Men in feed store:
[and]
Robert Elliot
Horn's capturers:
Cowboys:
[and]
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
First Artists presents
A Solar-Fred Weintraub Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
D. G. A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Costumer
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Ward asst
MUSIC
Scoring mixer
Mus ed
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Asst makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Scr supv
Prod coord
Head wrangler
Transportation capt
Prod's secy
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Prod auditor
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Trick rider
Steer roping seq
Steer roping seq
Horse breaking seq
Horse breaking seq
Horse breaking seq
Horse breaking seq
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter by Tom Horn (Denver, 1904).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
I, Tom Horn - A Last Will and Testament of the Old West
I, Tom Horn
Release Date:
16 May 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 May 1980
New York opening: 23 May 1980
Production Date:
began 15 January 1979 in Nogales and Tucson, Arizona
Copyright Claimant:
Solar Productions, Inc., The First Artists Production Company, Ltd. &
Copyright Date:
2 May 1980
Copyright Number:
PA66503
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25919
SYNOPSIS

In 1900 Wyoming, cowboy Tom Horn boards his horse at a stable and visits the local saloon for a whiskey. There, he insults the locals, toasting a picture of Indian Chief Geronimo instead of an up-and-coming boxer named “Gentleman” Jim Corbett. When Corbett beats him, Tom takes refuge in the barn with his horse. A rancher named John Coble finds Tom after witnessing the fight, and offers him shelter and a job after he recovers from his injuries. Riding to Coble’s ranch, they stop at Brown’s Hole to water the horses. There, one horse rustler fires his gun at Coble’s feet, and orders him to dance. Tom pulls his rifle and shoots the cowboy in the foot. As the wounded rustler vows revenge, Coble explains the incident is typical of conflicts in the area, and soon hires Tom to ward off cattle rustlers. Later, at a Cattlemen’s Association picnic, Coble introduces Tom as a legendary tracker and interpreter of the Apache wars. During the lobster meal, U. S. Marshal Joe Belle takes Tom aside and says Tom can conduct business by bringing rustlers to trial or by shooting them. Afterward, schoolteacher Glendolene Kimmel teases Tom about eating lobster for the first time. She reveals that she is originally from Hawaii, but has always been attracted to the West. Meanwhile, Joe sees Tom as a threat to his reputation as the town’s top lawman, and as a rival for Glendolene’s affection. Coble soothes Joe’s worries by reminding him that Tom is there to do the dirty work, so that Joe can concentrate on his political aspirations. Later, Tom tracks down four rustlers and starts a gunfight. He shoots ... +


In 1900 Wyoming, cowboy Tom Horn boards his horse at a stable and visits the local saloon for a whiskey. There, he insults the locals, toasting a picture of Indian Chief Geronimo instead of an up-and-coming boxer named “Gentleman” Jim Corbett. When Corbett beats him, Tom takes refuge in the barn with his horse. A rancher named John Coble finds Tom after witnessing the fight, and offers him shelter and a job after he recovers from his injuries. Riding to Coble’s ranch, they stop at Brown’s Hole to water the horses. There, one horse rustler fires his gun at Coble’s feet, and orders him to dance. Tom pulls his rifle and shoots the cowboy in the foot. As the wounded rustler vows revenge, Coble explains the incident is typical of conflicts in the area, and soon hires Tom to ward off cattle rustlers. Later, at a Cattlemen’s Association picnic, Coble introduces Tom as a legendary tracker and interpreter of the Apache wars. During the lobster meal, U. S. Marshal Joe Belle takes Tom aside and says Tom can conduct business by bringing rustlers to trial or by shooting them. Afterward, schoolteacher Glendolene Kimmel teases Tom about eating lobster for the first time. She reveals that she is originally from Hawaii, but has always been attracted to the West. Meanwhile, Joe sees Tom as a threat to his reputation as the town’s top lawman, and as a rival for Glendolene’s affection. Coble soothes Joe’s worries by reminding him that Tom is there to do the dirty work, so that Joe can concentrate on his political aspirations. Later, Tom tracks down four rustlers and starts a gunfight. He shoots two men dead and kills a third from a distance. He then spares the life of the last rustler, but orders him to spread the word about Tom’s deeds. Back at the Coble ranch, Tom ropes wild horses, and breaks a horse to present to Glendolene. When he gives her a riding lesson, he wonders aloud how he fits into her adventures, and they kiss. One day, Tom confronts a rustler, Lee, at his cabin after warning him to cease his stealing. Lee responds by killing Tom’s horse, and Tom, in turn, fires several bullets into Lee’s body. Afterward, he sets fire to the man’s cabin. Later, another rustler opens fire on Tom as he does his errands in town. After Tom kills the man in self-defense, townspeople come out to view the carnage. As Marshal Belle inspects the body, Tom retreats to a nearby hotel to dress his wound. After the town shooting, the cattlemen meet and warn Coble the newspaper will soon report that they are backing Tom. Marshal Belle tells Coble it is time to fire Tom before a scandal erupts. One day in town, several cowboys inform Tom that fifteen-year-old Jimmy Nolt has been killed by the same gun that Tom carries. Soon after, Glendolene tells Tom that he is being framed. He walks to the saloon, asks for a whiskey, and reads the newspaper account of Nolt’s death. At his office, Marshal Belle invites newspaper reporter, Charlie Ohnhouse, to hide and record the confession he plans to force from Tom. The marshal then invites Tom to his office to discuss the contents of a letter he received from Montana. He tells Tom of a job offer in Montana to police cattle rustlers, then compliments Tom’s way with a rifle, adding that the shooter killed Jimmy from a distance of 213 feet. Tom says his rifle is not capable of making such a clean shot, but Joe disagrees. Tom replies if he did make the shot it would be the best of his career, and his dirtiest trick. Marshal Belle does not get the confession he anticipated, and Tom leaves. Later, Sheriff Sam Creedmore and his deputy, Earl Proctor, arrest Tom for the murder of Jimmy Nolt. When reporters ask Coble if the Cattlemen’s Association hired Tom, and if they plan to pay for his defense, Coble does not respond. In private, Coble warns Tom not to break out of jail because people will assume he is guilty. In his jail cell, Tom recalls romancing Glendolene in an outdoor tub, but is interrupted by a stranger on a horse, who shoots at him. Tom returns fire, kills the man, and finishes him off with the butt of his rifle. In the present, Tom asks the sheriff to return his Indian charms, and learns that members of the National Guard are stationed outside to prevent his escape. Coble brings Tom a suit to wear for trial, hires an attorney for his defense, and warns him to remain as closed-mouthed as possible around the prosecuting attorney, Walter Stoll. If Stoll wins a conviction, he will be considered a hero and it will ensure his re-election. Coble apologizes, adding that he did not realize the cattlemen would go to such extremes to remove Tom. Tom says that no matter what happens, he knows Coble is his friend. When the entire town shows up for Tom’s trial, the first witness, reporter Ohnhouse, perjures himself on the stand, claiming that Tom bragged to Marshal Belle about killing Jimmy. Then, Stoll questions Tom, who refuses to admit or deny the charge, and leaves. The next morning at the jailhouse, Tom knocks deputy Earl unconscious when he stoops to get a closer look at Tom’s Indian charms. Tom steals the key, beats a deputy, and steals his gun. He runs from town on foot, but is quickly beaten and captured. Later, Tom is sentenced to death by hanging for Jimmy’s murder. As Tom waits for his execution, he remembers happier times, riding with Glendolene on the plains. She criticizes his way of life, and warns that eventually society will pass judgment. She admits that she no longer wants to be a part of his world, and says goodbye. As Tom remembers sleeping with Glendolene under the stars, he is called to his execution. He stops along the way to congratulate Marshal Belle on his engagement to Glendolene. As the town watches, Sam places the noose around Tom’s neck. The cowboy delivers one last insult to deputies before the trap is sprung, and he falls to his death. His Indian charms clatter as they hit the ground beneath him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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