Five Times Kiefer Showed His Cowboy Chops Onscreen

Andrew Hawkins

Kiefer Sutherland is way more than an American film icon. The movie and television star has been hailed as one of the coolest actors of his day and continues to do great work with each role he is given. From Action to Horror to Suspense, Kiefer delivers memorable performances that are entertaining, and today we highlight his work as a cowboy and a gunslinger. It’s no surprise that the man is an acclaimed rodeo champion in real life, considering what we’ve seen of him onscreen.



Forsaken (our interview with the director) sees Kiefer face off against multiple land thieves and hired men as he tries to make peace with his estranged father after the Civil War. We see him hold back on his abilities for much of the film, but when his character John Henry Clayton finally unleashes his abilities, the film becomes a whirlwind of gunfights and action. Again, we see Kiefer square off against actor Michael Wincott, and Demi Moore shows up as the lost love interest from his past. Forsaken is an excellent movie in the wake of the current Western trend and it’s pretty awesome to see both Kiefer and Donald Sutherland on screen, working together for the first time.


Young Guns


Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney and Casey Siemaszko versus Terence Stamp, Jack Palance and Terry O’Quinn. There’s no way this dramatic retelling of the story of Billy the Kid could have been any hotter at the time. In the late 80’s these guys were on fire and Kiefer’s bad boy character Josiah Gordon ‘Doc’ Scurlock was definitely one of the most likable and memorable of the bunch. Filled with action packed gun fights, intense chases on horseback and more gunslinger action than you can shake a stick at, Young Guns is a fun movie absolutely worth watching.


Young Guns II


The sequel that everybody who loved the original wanted, but no one expected. Young Guns II surprised audiences and fans by bringing back everyone who survived the first film and introducing Christian Slater into the mix, only to kill everyone off at the end of the film. Doc Scurlock returns after being rescued by Billy when he is nearly put to death by hanging. At the end of the film, he winds up sacrificing himself in the final shootout to save the rest of the gang. It’s a fitting end to a great character even though it would have been nice to see him live out the original happy ending from the first film.


Cowboy Up


In this dramatic take on sibling rivalry and competition in the rodeo world stars Kiefer as an established bull rider working towards a championship title. The story mainly concerns the relationship between him and his brother played by Ely Braxton and the love interest that comes between them, but the scenes that take place during rodeo competitions are grounded in real stunts and riding. This is the prime example of seeing what Kiefer can actually do, and we even get to see him in full Rodeo Clown getup for good measure.


The Cowboy Way


Woody Harrelson joins Kiefer in this buddy comedy, fish out of water tale that finds them playing two bonafide wranglers lost in New York. The movie contains a ton of scenes that play up cowboy stereotypes, and while many of the jokes can be pretty disagreeable and certainly politically incorrect, the chemistry between these two is entertaining and infectious. Kiefer shows his skill set here in a more light hearted setting, and while it’s all in good fun, you gotta give credit to the guy for handling a horse at breakneck speed in the middle of the city. The man is a pro after all.


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Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins is a fan contributor at Fandom. He has been on the fan media scene since 2011. Arriving at Fandom by way of CHUD, and Trouble.City; Andrew loves Sci-Fi Horror movies and supervillains. His dislikes include weak plotlines and sky lasers.
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