Cowboy Up (2001)


Cowboy Up (2001)

Two brothers, One is a bull rider, the other a rodeo bullfighter/stock contractor, clash over the love of barrel racer Celia Jones, while each comes into their own in their respective field in the rodeo world.
IMDb   5.6 /10
TheMovieDb    5.9 /10
FilmAffinity   3.8 /10
Director Xavier Koller
Writer James Redford
Release Date2002-09-02
Runtime1h 45min
GenreDrama, Romance, Western
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
AwardsAwards1 win & 1 nomination
CompanyCode Entertainment, Neverland Films, Orchid Productions
Hank Braxtonas Hank Braxton
Marcus Thomas
Marcus Thomas
Ely Braxtonas Ely Braxton
Celia Jonesas Celia Jones
Reid Braxtonas Reid Braxton
Rose Braxtonas Rose Braxton
Connieas Connie
Ray Druppas Ray Drupp
Young Elyas Young Ely
Young Hankas Young Hank
Dr. Fremontas Dr. Fremont
Brendaas Brenda
Nataanii Nez Means
Nataanii Nez Means
Troyas Troy
Eddieas Eddie
Truck Driveras Truck Driver
Debbieas Debbie
Dr. Hackleyas Dr. Hackley

Cowboy Up

Cowboy Up (also known as Ring of Fire) is a 2001 American Western film directed by Xavier Koller. It stars Kiefer Sutherland, Marcus Thomas, Molly Ringwald, and Daryl Hannah. It won the Crystal Heart Award at the 2001 Heartland Film Festival.


Rising rodeo star Ely Braxton (Marcus Thomas) is recovering from injuries that almost took his life. Against the wishes of his mother Rose Braxton (Melinda Dillon) and girlfriend Connie (Molly Ringwald), Ely starts riding bulls again to achieve his dream of becoming a champion bull rider like his estranged father, Reid Braxton (Pete Postlethwaite). Ely's older brother, Hank (Kiefer Sutherland), is a champion bullfighter and stock contractor, and the two use each other to better their rodeo skills and work together at their family ranch in Santa Maria, California. As Ely's rodeo career becomes highly successful, he starts a relationship with Celia Jones (Daryl Hannah), who is a barrel racer and Hank's love interest. Hank is consumed with anger and jealousy at Ely's betrayal and the brothers become estranged.

At the championship rodeo in Las Vegas, Ely, having ended his relationship with Celia, draws Hank's unridden and greatly feared bull Zapata and asks for Hank's help. Hank tells Ely to let go of the past memories he has been carrying around his entire life, and gives Ely the address of their father's house in Las Vegas. Ely meets his father, but his father does not recognize Ely and thinks he is a rodeo reporter, but Ely says he is just a bull rider. Ely realizes his father is not the hero he has idolized.

Ely successfully rides Zapata, but is injured; in the process, Hank rushes to save Ely from Zapata, but is killed when Zapata crushes his chest. When the Braxton ranch hand and family friend Joe (Russell Means) brings Zapata back to the Braxton ranch, Rose grabs a shotgun and almost shoots Zapata in her grief over Hank's death, but Joe and Ely talk her down. They say they will shoot Zapata, but Ely remembers Hank's pride in the bull and shoots into the air as Zapata calmly walks into the pasture. Joe tells Ely that Hank would not have shot Zapata.


  • Kiefer Sutherland as Hank Braxton
  • Marcus Thomas as Ely Braxton
  • Daryl Hannah as Celia Jones
  • Melinda Dillon as Rose Braxton
  • Molly Ringwald as Connie
  • Russell Means as Joe
  • Anthony Lucero as Jed
  • Bo Hopkins as Ray Drupp
  • Pete Postlethwaite as Reid Braxton, Hank's estranged father
  • Donnie Gay as himself
  • Pam Minick as herself


The film was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kiefer Sutherland and Daryl Hannah previously co-starred in The Last Days of Frankie the Fly (1997).

Parts of the film were also shot at the Santa Maria Fairpark, home of the Santa Barbara County Fair, and in surrounding communities.