Parents need to know that The Cowboys, a 1972 Western based on the novel by William Dale Jennings, is an ode to good values. Without evoking cliché, it embodies the rewards of hard work, loyalty, honesty, responsibility, treating others with dignity, and admitting mistakes. It presents adolescence as a time when such values are imprinted and first put into practice. Many other firsts are also represented. A tween boy discusses the first naked woman he's seen. The boys encounter a traveling troupe of prostitutes. Upon meeting their first black man, some white boys ask what color the man's genitals are. The boys have their first drinks, too, and suffer their first hangovers the next day. And they are called to be brave for the first time when ruthless rustlers kill a man and steal his herd. The bad guys are punished violently. One boy is killed in a stampede accident .A bloody fistfight is shown. A man bashes another's head repeatedly against a tree trunk. A noose is placed around a black man's neck and white men prepare to hang him. Men shoot each other to death. Boys kill people with guns. A wounded bad guy is dragged to death by his horse. Cattle are branded. Young boys are seen off by crying parents. Crossing a river with the herd, a boy on horseback falls into the river and is saved by another boy. Language includes: "s--t," "hell," "damn," "bitch," "bastard," "jackass," "t-ts," "old iron nuts," and several utterances of the "N" word.