26 user 13 critic

The Rare Breed (1966)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Drama | 25 February 1966 (Italy)
An English woman and her daughter enlist the aid of a cowboy to try and get their hardy hornless bull to mate with the longhorns of Texas, but have to overcome greedy criminals and the natural elements.


Andrew V. McLaglen


Ric Hardman


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... Sam Burnett
Maureen O'Hara ... Martha Price
Brian Keith ... Bowen
Juliet Mills ... Hilary Price
Don Galloway ... Jamie
David Brian ... Ellsworth
Jack Elam ... Simons
Ben Johnson ... Harter
Harry Carey Jr. ... Mabry
Perry Lopez ... Juan
Larry Domasin Larry Domasin ... Alberto
Silvia Marino Silvia Marino ... Conchita
Alan Caillou ... Taylor
Gregg Palmer ... Rodenbush
Barbara Werle ... Gert


When her husband dies en route to America, Martha Price and her daughter Hilary are left to carry out his dream: the introduction of Hereford cattle into the American West. They enlist Sam "Bulldog" Burnett in their efforts to transport their lone bull, a Hereford named Vindicator, to a breeder in Texas, but the trail is fraught with danger, and even Burnett doubts the survival potential of this "rare breed" of cattle. Written by Greg Helton <ghelton@airmail.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

25 February 1966 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rare Breed See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The accident involving the wagon carrying Martha (Maureen O'Hara) and Hilary (Juliet Mills) ahead of the stampede was real and kept in the film. The women were supposed to be thrown clear, but instead, the wagon rolled over them. Fortunately, there was a pit underneath the wagon allowing the stunt women, Stephanie Epper and Patty Elder, enough space to be kept from being crushed. They survived with slight injuries and shock. Director Andrew V. McLaglen kept the scene in the film. See more »


In the final fight scene between James Stewart and Brian Keith, there is a close shot of the calf watching from underneath the stairs. However, when they cut to the long shot, the calf is no longer there. See more »


[first lines]
Martha Evans: What on earth are they doing?
Charles Ellsworth: It's called bulldogging, ma'am. That's Bulldog Burnett. He works for my outfit.
Hilary Price: Well, it's a perfectly silly way to handle cattle if you ask me.
See more »

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User Reviews

"All We Can Do Under These Primitive Conditions Is ..."
4 December 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

This is dire. Without James Stewart, this flabby, far-too-long cattle yarn would be unwatchable. As it is, it's not far off. Stewart made a few of these 'modern' westerns for Universal in the mid 60's ("Shenandoah" springs to mind) and they are consistently shallow and unrealistic.

Two English beauties, Martha and her daughter Hilary, travel out to the American West in 1884 to sell their prize hornless bull. They meet up with Bulldog Burnett, a trusty cowpoke, who helps them move their bull to Texas. Various adventures befall them along the way.

The film wants to be a comedy action movie, but fails in both departments. The script is very weak and the improbabilities of the story are just too much to swallow.

Stewart plays Burnett, and manages to inject a bit of human interest into even this poorly-drawn character who has to utter some dreadful lines. Martha is played by Maureen O'Hara. She reacts beautifully and wordlessly when Bowen proposes marriage, but other than that she has nothing to do in the whole interminable film except look pretty and seem aloof. Juliet Mills is passable as the female ingenue Hilary, as is her male counterpart (Jamie, played by Don Galloway), but their characters are too flimsy to merit further attention. Jack Elam plays the bad guy Simons, as ludicrous a villain as exists anywhere on celluloid.

And now for the daffy parts. Burnett and the English ladies have camped for the night on the trail, but their camp is as bright as day, thanks to the Universal 'look'. Somebody takes a shot at Burnett, the bullet striking the coffee pot in his hand, but everyone decides to ignore it and turn in for the night! The notion that these two fragrant English roses would sleep on dirt is preposterous, but worse is to follow. The next morning, they are wearing crisp new outfits, both featuring dazzling white blouses - even though they have no luggage with them! Simons shoots his partner dead for no reason whatsoever - even though he is within his victims' earshot and risks ruining his own plan.

When Simons stampedes Jamie's herd, nobody notices him firing his gun or riding in among the cattle, waving a yellow scarf. When he robs the travellers, the obvious thing for him to do is to kill them, but he lets them go free. Before and after the dry gulch sequence, the group moves through lush pasture land. The dry gulch simply doesn't fit with the terrain (which is probably meant to be Oklahoma Territory). Brian Keith as Alexander Bowen parades the most awful Scottish accent since Brig O'Doon - and because he's Scottish, he plays the bagpipes, of course.

The scenes in the Bowen ranch yard and the blizzard sequence are very obviously filmed in a studio.

Verdict - Too long, too shallow ... and too bad they decided to film it at all.

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