The cowboys - wikipedia, The cowboys is a 1972 american western film starring john wayne, roscoe lee browne, slim pickens, colleen dewhurst and bruce dern. robert carradine made his film debut with fellow child actor stephen hudis, as cowboys. it was filmed at various locations in new mexico, colorado and at warner brothers studio in burbank, california. based on the novel by william dale jennings, the screenplay was written by irving ravetch, harriet frank, jr., and jennings, and directed by mark rydell..Bruce dern: 'shooting john wayne killed my career, Veteran movie star bruce dern is convinced shooting john wayne in the back in the cowboys wrecked his film career because he became known as the man who killed the duke.. The cowboys - topic - you., John wayne killed by bruce dern (the cowboys / 1972) - duration: 4 minutes, 10 seconds..