A well-known former army scout and Pinkerton detective lends his skills as a "Stock Detective" to investigate cattle rustling, only to be brought down by the ranchers who hired him due to his ruthless methods.
Based on the true life character of Tom Horn, the film starring Steve McQueen as Horn in one of his final roles tackles the later years of the legendary lawman, outlaw, and gunfighter leading up to his execution for murder. The film approaches the character from the perspective of his innocence, claiming that his brutal vigilante justice caused his employers, the Cattle Ranch owners, to turn on him to protect their public image.
The story begins with Horn, a hero of the American Civil War and Pinkerton detective, leaving his past behind him and wandering the slowly shrinking American western frontier. After a small scuffle with a prize-fighter in a small frontier town, Horn meets ranch owner John Coble (Richard Farnsworth) who offers him a job as a "Stock Detective". Coble and other cattle barons have had recent problems with cattle rustlers and with the blessing of the U.S. Marshall Joe Belle (Billy Green Bush), Horn accepts the job. Through his mingling with the townsfolk he also meets Glendolene Kimmel (Linda Evans), a local schoolteacher who seems interested in him.
Horn then goes on a mission to kill or run off anyone who would try to steal his benefactor’s cattle, causing the local townsfolk to panic at his violent nature. With public opinion turning against him, the cattle grazers association that hired him soon realises he is doing his job too well and fearing bad publicity, seeks to remove him.
When a young boy is shot by the same calibre gun that Horn uses, he is treated as a suspect in the boy’s murder. Despite the fact that he is guilty of many other murders, he refuses to leave the area, ignoring the warnings of Glendolene and Coble. While drunk, he is recorded by a newspaper writer while discussing the murder with Joe Belle and based on something he says out of context, he is arrested.
He tries to escape but is eventually recaptured and tried for the boy’s murder. The transcript of his conversation with Belle proves the final nail in his coffin and the great fighter is convicted and sentenced to hang. Defeated, Horn accepts his fate as he is taken out to hang.
FOX Classics TV guide
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
- 6:00 PM 'Allo 'Allo!
- 6:30 PM Are You Being Served?
- 7:00 PM Jeopardy!
- 7:30 PM M*A*S*H
- 8:00 PM Keeping Up Appearances
- 8:35 PM Voyage of the Damned
- 11:15 PM The Hindenburg
- 1:15 AM The Woman in Red
- 2:40 AM Murder, She Wrote
- 3:35 AM Walker, Texas Ranger
- 4:30 AM M*A*S*H
- 5:00 AM The Big Valley
- End of programming for Tuesday, 21 May 2013