Sam Elliott Echoes John Wayne With Homophobic Rant Against ‘Power of the Dog’

Actor Sam Elliott may be expected to have strong feelings about “The Power of the Dog” after a more than 50-year career in Western films and television series. When podcaster Marc Maron asked the notoriously gruff, deep-voiced actor if he had watched Jane Campion’s new modern Western, he probably didn’t anticipate Elliott’s thoughts to take on such an angry, homophobic tone. Actor Sam Elliott made some absurd, almost homophobic comments about New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion’s film Power of the Dog while on the podcast WTF With Marc Maron.

Maron inquired about Elliott’s thoughts on the film, after which he proceeded to label it a “piece of shit,” but he didn’t stop there, and the exact arguments he brought up to back that judgment were odd at best.

Elliott said, “Fuck no.” “I looked at it down in Texas doing 1883, and what really drove it home to me the other day,…” There was a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, as well as a clip — not a review, but a clip —It also discussed how the American myth was being shattered. ‘What the fuck?’ I said. ‘What the hell is going on here?’ He’s been doing Westerns for a long time. The American West is being obliterated.

They made it appear like – who are all those New York dancers wearing bowties and nothing else? “Do you recall them from before?”Maron stated that he was referring to Chippendales performers. “All those fucking cowboys in that movie looked like that,” Elliott added. They’re all dressed in chaps with no shirts on. Throughout the whole film, there are several references to homosexuality.”

“What the fuck does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West?” Elliott added afterward. “She’s a wonderful filmmaker, by the way; I adore her stuff, past work.” And why does she shoot this movie in New Zealand, name it Montana, and claim, ‘This is how it was?’ That really irritated me, mate.

The legend has it that they were macho cowboys. I just got back from fucking Texas, where I was hanging out with families, not men, but families, large, lengthy, extended, multi-generational families that lived and breathed cowboys.”

Wow, there’s a lot to digest here. First and foremost, Campion did not write The Power of the Dog’s tale, which further adds to Elliott’s disdainful attitude toward her. It’s based on a novel by Thomas Savage, a wrangler, ranch worker, welder, and railroad brakeman from the United States. Some have referred to Savage as a “closeted homosexual guy,” but we do know that he had long-term connections with males that his wife was apparently aware of. Despite this, he was able to maintain the familial unit that Elliott seemed to value so highly.

Some of the genre’s finest Westerns are subversive and, in part, an “evisceration of the American West” created by non-Americans. Akira Kurosawa once sued Leone for plagiarism because of the enormous influence of Japanese film on Western cinema. Hang ‘Em High, Eastwood’s first American Western, established the tone for the rest of his career. People, including John Wayne, the Old West’s poster boy, reacted angrily to this.

During an interview with Kenneth Turan for Ride, Boldly Ride: The Evolution of the American Western, Eastwood explained this to Turan.

“I once received a letter from John Wayne stating that he disliked High Plains Drifter. He said that it wasn’t actually about the pioneers of the West. I understood there were two generations here, and he wouldn’t get what I was doing.

The film High Plains Drifter was intended to be a story, not a documentary of the hardships of pioneering. It wasn’t intended to be about establishing the West in the first place.”


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