Cahill, United States Marshal (1973): Andrew McLaglen’s Western Starring John Wayne

Director Andrew McLaglen’s western is a tedious, formulaic John Wayne vehicle, trying to cash in on the youth market, just as “The Cowboys” did in 1972, except that the latter was a good film and this one is not.

Cahill U.S. Marshal

Cahill U.S. Marshal

Wayne plays the titular role, a man whose two sons, Billy Joe, 12, and Danny, 17, feel neglected by a father who’s all too often away from home rounding up outlaws.  During one of their father’s absence, the siblings help Abe Fraser (George Kennedy) and his men commit a bank robbery.

As usual, Wayne has an Indian sidekick (Neville Brand), and there are typical, clichéd moments to establish Wayne as the stuff of legend

In the opening, Wayne rides boldly up to a night camp to arrest some men. Aware of the two gunmen deployed to cover him from each side, he nevertheless shoots it out and manages to survive.  Later on, Wayne brings in some older prisoners and some stolen loot.

His conversation with the villain’s leader (Chuck Roberson) makes him realize their lack of determination. He rides straight through them, screaming, “Aw, hell, get out of the way!”  And sure enough, he quickly recognizes a bluff, when the baddie Fraser pretends to be dead at the film’s climax.

Ion the course of this overly familiar saga, Wayne is shot in the shoulder, but of course, it does not tarnish in the least his bravery and his indestructibility

The film was at one point known as “Wednesday Morning,” the title referring to the time when a band of robbers will be hung unless Wayne can catch the real villains.


Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Produced by Michael Wayne
Written by Barney Slater (story)
Screenplay by Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by Robert L. Simpson

Production company: Batjac Productions

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date: July 11, 1973

Running time: 103 minutes
Box office $3,100,000 (US/ Canada)

John Wayne as U.S. Marshal J.D. Cahill
George Kennedy as Fraser
Gary Grimes as Daniel Cahill
Neville Brand as Lightfoot
Clay O’Brien as Billy Joe Cahill
Marie Windsor as Hetty Green
Morgan Paull as Struther
Dan Vadis as Brownie
Royal Dano as MacDonald
Scott Walker as Ben
Denver Pyle as Denver
Jackie Coogan as Charlie Smith
Rayford Barnes as Simser
Dan Kemp as Joe Meehan
Harry Carey Jr. as Hank
Walter Barnes as Sheriff Grady
Paul Fix as Old Man
Pepper Martin as Casey
Hank Worden as Albert
James Nusser as Doctor Jones
Murray MacLeod as Deputy Sheriff Gordine
Hunter von Leer as Deputy Sheriff Jim Kan