These 5 LGBTQ+ Cowboy Movies Will Buck Your Bronco
We always love a queer cowboy film!
The words “gay” and “cowboy” go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just about everything about the cowboy way of life screams gay: leather, assless chaps, cowboy hats, denim jackets, tight jeans, and spending a lot of time building up a sweat with other guys. So really, it’s not surprising that some of our favorite queer films star cowboys.
Cowboys are known for being rugged and strong, two things many LGBTQ+ people have had to be to survive in harder times. And two things that queer men have often been stereotyped as lacking.
These queer cowboys show just how untrue that is. They’ll put on their rawhide and saddle up with any buckaroo. They know how to ride and they know how to use a rope. Next time someone says cowboys aren’t gay, simply point them to these five movies.
Strange Way of Life
Pedro Almodovar’s upcoming short western stars Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke as a lawman and outlaw who travel across the desert to meet up with each other after 25 years apart. It’s said to be Almodovar’s “answer to Brokeback Mountain.” It will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Speaking of Brokeback Mountain, this is the blueprint for the modern gay cowboy film. Jake Gylenhaal and Heath Ledger starred in this groundbreaking, Oscar-winning movie about a doomed romance between two sheep herders. Brokeback Mountain was a heartbreaking movie, but it also was one of the first gay films to be recognized as a true masterpiece.
This modern western features a trans cowboy. It starred Steve Zahn as the troubled father of a young trans boy who takes him from his mother after the mother refuses to let him transition. 10-year-old actor Sasha Knight starred as Joe, the young trans boy who travels through the Montana wilderness with his dad.
Power of The Dog
Jane Campion’s Oscar-winning 2021 western starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee. It takes place in 1925 Montana and follows Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch), a rancher who gets jealous of his brother’s new wife and starts to obsess over her younger brother (Smit-McPhee). The movie challenged ideas of toxic masculinity present in the western genre, and Campion won the Oscar for Best Director.
Dashing in December
It’s not exactly the same type of prestige drama as the other films on this list, but Dashing in December has its own special place in our gay cowboy hearts. The Paramount+ original romantic holiday film follows Wyatt Burwall (Peter Porte) as he returns to his family’s Colorado ranch to try to convince his mom to sell it. However, when he meets charming new ranch hand Heath Ramos (Juan Pablo Di Pace), he learns the power of Christmas and of love.