The Hired Hand (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hired Hand (1971)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Hired Hand Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Peter Fonda directed and stars in this moody, realistic western drama, concerning a man who tries to return to a family he has abandoned years ago and the loyalty to a friend that compels him to leave once again. Fonda plays Harry Collings, who had abandoned his wife Hannah (Verna Bloom) years ago to travel the trail with his friend Arch Harris (Warren Oates). When their mutual friend, Dan Griffin (Robert Pratt) is killed by a gang of bushwhackers, led by a man named McVey (Severn Darden), Harry and Arch exact retribution on his killers. But after that, Harry desires to return home. He leaves Arch on the trail and comes back to Hannah. Hannah is reluctant to accept him back on her farm but permits him to stay on as a hired hand, and he sleeps in the barn. Over time, Hannah once again warms up to Harry, and their love is rekindled. Harry now moves back into the home, and Harry and Hannah form a family as before. But then Harry gets word that McVey has captured his old pal Arch and is torturing him to death. His duty to his friend weighing heavily upon him, he leaves his wife to go back on the trail to save his friend.more
Rating: R (violence)
Genre: Western, Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Alan Sharp
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 28, 2003
Sundance Channel Home Entertainment


Peter Fonda
as Harry Collings
Warren Oates
as Arch Harris
Verna Bloom
as Hannah Collings
Robert Pratt
as Dan Griffen
Rita Rogers
as Mexican Woman
Ann Doran
as Mrs. Sorenson
Megan Denver
as Janey Collings
Al Hopson
as Bartender
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hired Hand

Critic Reviews for The Hired Hand

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

A touching and absurd example of the hippie western.

Full Review… | October 14, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

This groundbreaking 1971 western nimbly upsets most of our expectations about cowboy movies.

Full Review… | August 7, 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

If Dennis Hopper dismantles revisionist-Western ennui in The Last Movie, Fonda embellishes it with poetic muddiness

Full Review… | September 6, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Hired Hand


[font=Century Gothic][color=sienna] "The Hired Hand" is a 1971 western directed by Peter Fonda(his first, and perhaps only noticeable effort) about a man who after several years wandering aimlessly with his pal through the West, decides to return to the wife he left several years before. The movie is deliberately paced and occasionally artsy. It is worthwhile because of the spotlight on the relationships between the characters and for one notable speech given by Verna Bloom who plays the abandoned wife. And Warren Oates has another very good performance in this movie.[/color][/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


there are a number of things i really liked about this, but too much time was spent on "cinema trickery" that was unnecessary. Fonda's performance was maybe the weakest out of the entire cast.

chase _

Super Reviewer

The Hired Hand Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Hired Hand on our Movie forum!