Go West (1925)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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With this delightful film, Buster Keaton rivals Charlie Chaplin for comic poetry and pathos. Keaton's character, known only as Friendless, is a Midwestern boy who is down on his luck. After an abortive attempt to get by in the city, he follows Horace Greeley's advice to "Go West, young man!" As a result, Friendless winds up on a cattle ranch and is about the most unlikely cowboy imaginable (in fact, he never does trade in his porkpie hat for a ten-gallon). Various bits of comic business abound; standouts include the milking scene and a card game in which Friendless accuses a player of cheating. The sharpie tells The Great Stone Face "When you say that -- smile!" More importantly, Friendless finds true love -- not with the rancher's daughter (Kathleen Myers) but with Brown Eyes, a cow who seems nearly as out of place in the herd as Friendless does on the ranch. Cow and boy become devoted, but Brown Eyes is headed for the slaughterhouse. Friendless resolves to rescue her, sneaking on the train that's taking her and thousands of other cattle to the Los Angeles station. The herd escapes from the cattle cars at the destination and runs amok through downtown L.A.; it is then up to Friendless to round them up. Look closely during the hilarious stampede scene -- Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle plays a part in drag, and Keaton's father also has a bit in a barber shop. With the help of a costume shop, Friendless saves the day...and his cow. Go West is Keaton's most heartfelt film, and certainly one of his most underrated.
Classics , Comedy , Western
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Buster Keaton
as Friendless
Howard Truesdell
as The Ranch Owner
Howard Truesdale
as The Ranch Owner
Kathleen Myers
as The Ranch Owner's Daughter
Ray Thompson
as Ranch Foreman
Brown Eyes
as The Cow
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Go West

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

Buster Keaton is an able pantomimist; his morose and sensitive face commands a certain sympathy. We are, therefore, not absolutely unresponsive to his new comedy, Go West.

Full Review… | January 23, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Buster's warmest film and his personal favorite.

Full Review… | October 25, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Keaton's transcendent comedy of inadequacy

Full Review… | August 25, 2009

Audience Reviews for Go West


It is so much fun to see Keaton throw the West upside down as he befriends a jolly cow in a ranch, struggles to arrive in time for lunch and sets a herd of cattle free in the city while trying to make his way as a cowboy, even if hilariously clueless about what he is doing.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


"Go West" is not as well-regarded as some other Buster Keaton films such as "The General" and "Our Hospitality," but it's certainly worth seeing. And at only 69 minutes, it doesn't require much of a commitment. Down-on-his-luck "Friendless" heads west (Keaton sure did love train scenes) and grabs some work as a cowboy, despite being a complete novice. He can't ride, can't shoot and can't milk a cow. When he pulls a stone out of a limping cow's hoof and the grateful beast becomes devoted to him a la "Androcles and the Lion," it seems like a sweet gag. Surprising that this idea becomes the central plot -- it's not much to hang a movie on. However, the climatic cattle drive through the streets of Los Angeles is a set piece that can't be missed.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Another Buster Keaton masterpiece, Go West was his personal favorite and is a lesser known of his films but nonetheless a wonderful and touching comedy silent. Buster Keaton is portraying the character "Friendless" as he travels out west in search of a livelihood. Friendless is hired by a local rancher to help out around the farm and care for the animals. He befriends a cow named "Brown Eyes" that he cares for and protects because she seems to be shunned and ignored by the other steers on the ranch. Both outcasts, Friendless and Brown Eyes stick together through the daily life but hope seems lost upon hearing the cattle are headed to slaughter and the lot includes Brown Eyes. Friendless tries to buy her off the rancher but he doesn't have enough money. As they board the cattle on a train to market, Friendless sneaks in with Brown Eyes. On the journey the train is stopped by a group wanting the cattle themselves but the rest of the rancher's entourage fight them off. However, the train is set in motion while no one is on board, no one except Friendless and the thousand cattle. He is able to get the train to town and the cattle follow him and Brown Eyes, through an insane and hilarious journey through town, to the designated stables. In the end he saves the day and is rewarded by the rancher and given anything he wants, guess what he chooses! Keaton challenges Chaplin here for the poetic means to his routine and his character's likeability due to his misfortunes. What a great piece of comedic cinema! Highly Recommended!

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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