Ten Most Famous Lines From Cowboy Movies

Rounded up here are the ten most famous lines from cowboy movies; the one's that the likes of Wayne, Eastwood, Fonda, Marvin, Van Cleef, Ladd, Wallach could come on the screen and say a line that would burn in our memories for decades. Tough-as-nails characters, epic stories, and a romanticized setting gave us some of the best movies of a generation.

  1. "Tell him: Valdez is coming…" “Valdez is Coming” (1971) Valdez (Burt Lancaster) just wants to help out a poor widow, but when he approaches asks a wealthy rancher for help, he is ridiculed, beaten, and even crucified. So he tells them simply that he is coming. Nothing else needs to be said…he has his Sharps buffalo gun, sawed-off, and Colt revolver take care of the rest.
  2. "Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger…and those I am about to." “The Cowboys” (1972) Roscoe Lee Browne’s character serves as a more compassionate balance to John Wayne’s tough love Wil Andersen, but he also happens to be a Civil War vet that has no problem taking care of business.
  3. "Anything goes wrong, anything at all… your fault, my fault, nobody's fault… it won't matter —I'm gonna blow your head off. No matter what else happens, no matter who gets killed I'm gonna blow your head off." “Big Jake” (1971) Wayne, as Big Jake, is the epitome of the frontier justice seeking cowboy and lets everyone know how he feels. Usually those feelings involve wanting to shoot someone who deserves it.
  4. "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy." “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976) Westerns are full of those fighters that just want to settle down. Josey Wales has finally found a place to call home, but bounty hunters and Union soldiers just won’t let him be.
  5. "We’re burnin’ daylight!" “The Cowboys” (1972) The Duke is the father figure of all father figures in this movie and this line is just what these boys need to hear to get them moving, not just down the trail, but toward becoming men.
  6. "You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig." “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966) The "two types of things” lines come full circle at the very end of Tuco and Blondie’s journey. We know once and for all that The Man With No Name is the cleverer of the two.
  7. "We deal in lead, friend." “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) Steve McQueen knows how to play it cool. With an all-star cast, this line still stops the show as each character is taking their turn. At this point, the bandits should have known that they’d never be bothering this town again.
  8. "It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have." “Unforgiven” (1992) Clint Eastwood’s Western about a retired gunslinger that has to take that one last job is unforgettable and is considered one of the best Westerns ever made. They all have it coming and that’s the truth that he imparts on the Schofield Kid.
  9. "Shane! Come back!" "Shane" (1953) Little Joey cries out these words as Shane (Alan Ladd) rides off into the sunset. Sure, the mother seems to be interested in him, the father wants him to stay, and the kid has made him his idol, but Shane’s done what he needed to and, even though all he wanted to do was settle down, he has to move on. We see this theme of the gunslinger who can never escape his fate in dealing death many times in the Western genre.
  10. "Pilgrim." “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962) Wayne says “Pilgrim” 23 times in the film, as he goes around touting himself as the toughest man in town. All those John Wayne impressions are based off of this character, unless for the one other time he said it in “McLintock!” (Doubtful).
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