Lawman J.D. Cahill can stand alone against a bad-guy army. But as a widower father, he's on insecure footing raising two sons. Particularly when he suspects his boys are involved in a bank robbery - and two killings. Filme... more »d on location in the high desert of Durango, New Mexico, Cahill: United States Marshal offers a hearty helping of the stoic charisma that made John Wayne a lomg-time box-office champion. Summer of '42 discovery Gary Grimes - as Cahill's rebelllious older son - joins a cast of tough-guy favorites (Neville Brand, Denver Pyle, Harry Carey Jr. and George Kennedy) and such other Hollywood greats as Marie Windsor and Jackie Coogan in a deft blend of trigger-fast action and heroic sentiment. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Andrew McLaglen
Featurette:"Justice Under the Star" "The Man Behind the Star"
"There is a group of people who love to feel superior by disdaining things that everyday people enjoy. One of those things is a John Wayne movie. I am one who really enjoys John Wayne movies. He had a great screen presence, even when he was older, as he was here, in the Rooster Cogburn movies, and especially in the great movie "The Shootist".
This movie is really about fathers and sons, and particularly absent fathers and sons who find the wrong path and try to get back to the right way. Wayne plays the title character, J. D. Cahill. The opening scene is him on the road taking on a band of five bad guys in a shootout that ends the way you would expect the hero to play in a John Wayne film.
Cahill is an older man and we learn that he has young sons, one, Danny, a young teen and the other, Budger, a young boy. Their mother died. In a touching conversation with Danny, regretting his not being around for them, he acknowledges that he has focused too much on his job. He does note that when Danny's mother (Cahill's dear wife) was dying her last words to Cahill were, "Go Get `Em!". And so, he has been ever since.
George Kennedy plays one of his best and menacing bad guys, Abe Fraser. I don't want to get into the plot, but he does suck Danny and Budger into his plans. And it is the boys trying to extricate themselves without letting their father in on their problems that ends up causing most of the problems. The crisis comes when some innocent men are facing death for the crimes the boys know they and Abe's gang committed and they have to get things right in time.
You expect things to turn out a certain way in a film like this. There aren't any big surprises, but there are some funny and some touching moments along the way. And Wayne is still quite good as he holds the screen with his unique presence. And Neville Brand as Lightfoot provides some very fine moments in the film.
I don't think it is one of the best things Wayne did, but it is still better then most films and suitable for families. It can provide some good discussion with your kids, as well.
And it is a John Wayne film."
Results of Dad not being home, neglect of family life...
Blue Jay | Chiba, Japan | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this story, and the way that it was acted out by John Wayne. A "Duke Turkey" it isn't, as it shows the all-too-familiar results of what happens when Dad isn't around to take care of the children - a sad case of fatherhood today. John Wayne Plays a U.S. Marshall who's out after the bad guys...but ends up with a surprise when his two sons turn out to have helped out in a murder/robbery. Somehow (we aren't told how), Cahill knows his young sons are in cahoots with George Kennedy's bad guys, and they end up l;eading him right to the criminals and culprits, which ends in a wild shoot-out. It also shows that a father's teachings, despite his absence, can be the deciding factor in children's lives, as Cahill's two sons actually do the right thing in the end. Good Drama! Excellent storyline, though rather dark, and does have violence, but an all-around GOOD John Wayne movie!"
Well-acted, slightly turgid; OK, but nothing too innovative.
Doghouse King | Omaha, NE United States | 08/03/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Competently made but totally unremarkable, this movie is a pretty fair Western, structurally similar to nearly every other in the last ten years of the Duke's career.Like some of those others, this one is accused of being preachy. I might dispute that. Subtle it ain't, but really it just has a strong point of view with little room for gray. Besides, are *you* gonna disagree with the Duke?Duke plays a (surprise) Marshall who learns his kids are falling in with some bad men. Lots of familiar faces are seen as Duke rides to stop the gang and redeem his young'ns. Shots ring out. The End.The Duke's staunchest fans will of course eat it up. Due to its routine nature I would recommend to most others that they watch it when they haven't seen a Western in a while. Enjoyable enough in a lazy way.P.S. I realize this next statement will not exactly be a news flash, but nobody has ever been better at sounding tough than the Duke. When his dialogue includes a couple of creative threats, like it does in this film, it's worth seeing at least once for those alone."
An interesting idea for a western that does not pan out
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The tagline for the 1973 western "Cahill U.S. Marshal" declares: "Break the law and he's the last man you want to see. And the last you ever will." But we know that because the title character is played by John Wayne, so it really goes without saying that he is as good as it gets. But this is the Duke near the end of his career and while he made a pretty good western the year before with "The Cowboys," he was now just coasting (e.g., "The Train Robbers," "Brannigan") before he actually had some fun making a movie with Katharine Hepburn ("Rooster Cogburn") and found an excellent coda to his legendary acting career with "The Shootist."Wayne is J.D. Cahill, a tough U.S. marshal who is always on the trail of someone and never at home, which is why his sons Danny (Gary Grimes) and Billy Joe (Clay O'Brien) decide to teach the old man a lesson they go off with Abe Fraser (George Kennedy) and his gang to rob a bank. Actually they have a fairly complicated plan which involves being locked up in jail during the robbery so they have an alibi. Fraser promises no one will get hurt, but of course the sheriff and deputy are gunned down. The younger Cahill hides the loot and if either brother talks, Fraser will kill them both. With the sheriff dead, daddy shows up to track down the bank robbers and takes Danny along with him. They even capture a group of outlaws, who are sentenced to hang for the murders and the robbery.The pivotal character in the film is actual Danny Cahill, who has to get the hidden loot to Fraser, avoid having four innocent men hung, and try and pray that his father never gets everything to add up. Of course he does, although how the dots get connected is not exactly clear. There was an opportunity for a really good scene here at the big moment, but it just is not there and then Wayne's efforts to make the best of a bad situation kind of gets lost in the film's end game. Basically whatever you think Cahill should do in that situation, he is not going to make you happy, which ever of the two opposing approaches you want him to take."Cahill United States Marshall" has an above average number of old familiar faces in supporting roles with Denver Pyle as the boy's caretaker, Royal Dano as a hermit, Jackie Coogan as Charlie the town drunk, and Harry Carey, Jr. as Hank the jailer. Neville Brand has a nice turn as Lightfoot, a half Comanche tracker, but Kennedy is not that memorable as a villain, which is rather surprising. Wayne has more than his fair share of bad lines in this one (e.g., "If a buzzard bites you, he'd never eat meat again"), and the fault here has to be with the script that sets up a fairly interesting situation and then really does not know what to do with it, which is why this becomes a pedestrian John Wayne film."
Dull in the Saddle
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 10/22/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Another tired John Wayne vehicle from the 1970s, with the Duke going through the motions in a typical Western melodrama. Director Andrew V. McLaglen shows little enthusiasm for the preachy script while underusing a fine array of character actors. The opening scene falls painfully flat in its attempt to emulate Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry." Sorry to say, but "Cahill" looks like a made-for-TV movie that somehow acquired a major box-office star."