M*A*S*H

Season 1 Episode 8

Cowboy

1
Aired Unknown Nov 12, 1972 on CBS
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
69 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Cowboy
AIRED:
John Hodges, a chopper pilot referred to as The Cowboy because of his gun holster belt and cowboy hat, has been hit in the shoulder, and arrives at the 4077th. He is expecting a letter--he's worried his wife Jean at home is leaving him for another man ("She's probably off with some rodeo rider; she's a sucker for a 10-gallon hat!"). He wants to go home, but Henry refuses, stating Cowboy's wound isn't serious enough to merit a stateside ticket. Bad luck then follows Henry Blake like the seat of his pants: he gets shot at while golfing, his tent gets flattened by a driverless jeep, and the latrine explodes while he's inside. The Cowboy offers to fly Henry to Seoul and then threatens to shove him out! The letter finally arrives for Cowboy, assuring he is loved. Hawkeye and Trapper uses the radio to convince The Cowboy to spare Henry's life and come down, at which they succeed.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A chopper pilot nick-named Cowboy is injured and meanwhile, Colonel Henry Blake is beset by attempts on his life for some mysterious reason.

    10
    A subtle and profound episode that I think most will gloss over when talking about this show. I have seen every episode of this show more times then I can count by now and for so long, this episode's profound nature went completely under my radar until just recently. -

    Much of the episode maintains the comedic nature of the early seasons, but the darker tone of danger and possible death for Colonel Blake mostly is so subtle that it never arises to any pertinent level if one is casually viewing the episode. The same is true for the much more subtle story that surrounds Cowboy, the man denied leave home by Henry. We are not told until the end of the episode who is attempting to harm or kill Henry... but it eventually ties back into his denial of Cowboy's request. The nature of the attempts on Henry's wellbeing are stark enough on deeper reflection of this episode, but the true emotional impact is not realised until the climactic chopper scene where Cowboy and Henry confront one another.

    -

    It is here that Hawkeye and Trapper are given a letter that tells everyone why Cowboy is so upset and unbalanced. And in true brilliant subtlety, they couch the profound moment with some tense black humour and sly frantic tones. As the letter is read it is revealed that Cowboy is suffering an emotional breakdown from the pressures of not only the war, but the nagging anxiety that he is losing the love of his life because of it. The frantic tone that Hawkeye is reading in, brilliantly melds the nature of the tense uncertainty... let's not forget the riffs on Dear John and Reno... only to reveal a surprising declaration of love and commitment from Cowboy's lover. While that is touching in and of itself, the reaction by Cowboy (brilliant portrayal and direction by the actor and director) with the near manic relief stricken gaze to the sky is what finally hit me this last viewing. That moment perfectly captured one of those true moments in war where a man is driven to near insanity to somehow survive... though this time with his family life still intact.

    -

    After so many years, moments like these surprise me in this show. It isn't in your face. It isn't standing on any grand ideological podium screaming to be seen... it is a simple little moment brilliantly capturing the dark aspects of war on screen. It doesn't need the blood or a hammer... it just is there and when the moment finally hits you it is all the more powerful. And to think this was one of those episodes I used to only casually watch... shame on me.moreless
  • Chopper pilot "Cowboy" is shot in the shoulder while bringing wounded,but that is not his main problem.Cowboy is worried his wife is wanting out of their marriage & wants to go home.Someone is out to "get" Henry & he has several close calls but survivesmoreless

    8.5
    Good show and it gets serious when Henry is the target of someone anger. Henry gets shot at while playing golf with Hawkeye, but the shot comes from inside the camp. Other things happen to Henry and luckily he survives them all like a free running jeep coming in to his tent and his office chair exploding. Hawkeye and Trapper figure out its Cowboy but it is to late as Henry is in the Chopper with Cowboy and Cowboy lets him know that he is very upset Henry would not let him go home to his wife. he notices that Cowboy has a parachute on and soon realizes his life is in jeopardy. Radar gets the letter from the Cowboys' wife and all is okay at home and he brings Henry back safe and sound Hawkeye and Trapper get on the radio and read the letter to Cowboy and save the day and save Henry.moreless
Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff

Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly (Season 1-8)

Larry Linville

Larry Linville

Major Franklin Delano Marion Burns (Season 1-5)

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

McLean Stevenson

McLean Stevenson

Lt. Colonel Henry Braymore Blake (Season 1-3)

Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

Wayne Rogers

Wayne Rogers

Captain John Francis Xavier "Trapper" McIntyre (Season 1-3)

Mike Robello

Mike Robello

Cook

Guest Star

Jean Powell

Jean Powell

Nurse

Guest Star

Billy Green Bush

Billy Green Bush

John Hodges, The Cowboy

Guest Star

John Orchard

John Orchard

Ugly John

Recurring Role

Patrick Adiarte

Patrick Adiarte

Ho-Jon

Recurring Role

William Christopher

William Christopher

Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When Henry is in the helicopter with Cowboy, a pylon is visible, which did not exist at the time of the korean war.

    • Trapper, Henry, and Hawkeye are sitting in the mess tent. The salt shaker is standing left from the ketchup, the pepperbox is on the right hand side. After a cut both suddenly are on the right hand side.

    • Goof: In the background behind the tents following the explosion: you can see set lights.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar try desperately to talk sense into The Cowboy over the radio who has Colonel Blake in his helicopter and is threatening to throw him out.)
      Trapper: Cowboy, you just got a letter from home!
      (This finally gets The Cowboy's attention. He grabs the radio.)
      Cowboy: Yeah, nice try, Trapper!
      Trapper: We're not jiving you, Cowboy!
      Cowboy: Then who is it from?
      Hawkeye: "Mrs. Jean Hodges."
      Trapper: Jean. That's your wife's name, isn't it? Jean?
      Cowboy: Yeah! And what's the address?
      Hawkeye: "Box 740...
      (All of a sudden, Hawkeye covers the mike and whispers.)
      Hawkeye: Reno! Goodbye, Henry.
      Cowboy: I can't hear you!
      Trapper: (hesitantly) Uh, it might say "Reno, Nevada" but we really can't tell.
      Cowboy: (overjoyed) Reno! That's it! That's where I live!
      (Meanwhile, Colonel Blake is sweating bullets.)
      Blake: What a lovely town.
      Trapper: Cowboy, how's Colonel Blake? Henry, are you all right?
      Blake: I'm in a lot of trouble!
      Cowboy: C'mon! Open up that letter! Let's hear it!
      (Hawkeye and Trapper open up the letter. When they read it, they look sad and horrified. Meanwhile, the Cowboy is waiting. Hawkeye clears his throat and proceeds to read.)
      Hawkeye: "Dear...John."
      Cowboy (overjoyed) Go on!That's my real name!
      (Colonel Blake rolls his eyes.)
      Blake: Dear John from Reno.

    • Henry: Say, shouldn't I have a parachute too?
      Cowboy: You don't need one sir, it'll only break your fall.
      Henry: That's not funny!
      Cowboy: Neither was your not letting me go home!

    • Henry: The only thing G. I. about me is my my athlete's foot.

    • Hawkeye: (describing the first hole) It's a par 29. The mine fields are out of bounds on the left, and the Chinese Communists are out of bounds on the right.

    • Hawkeye: Then your final word is no?
      Henry: Either that or goodbye. It's, uh, multiple choice.

    • Hawkeye: (as Fr. Mulcahy says a Jewish prayer) Funny, he doesn't look it.

    • Trapper: Come on, Frank! Out of the way!
      Frank: You're not going anywhere in that, McIntyre. This jeep is the official property of the US Army in general and Col. Blake in particular and as such is to be used for the official duties thereof and nothing else.
      Trapper: Frank, you're sucking around to become a hit and run case. Move!
      Frank: Over my dead body.
      Trapper: Great idea!

    • (Henry has just been shot at while playing golf)
      Henry: What the hell was that?
      Hawkeye: I don't know, but you'll have to take a stroke.
      Henry: But I can't even find my ball!
      Hawkeye: Well, then, that's two strokes.

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