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COCKFIGHTER: Warren Oates stars as Frank Mansfield, a small-town Georgia man who gets caught up in the illegal game of cockfighting and finds that his losses far outweigh his winnings. Cocky and belligerent, Frank loses his chance at winning the Cockfighter Of The Year medal to Jack Burke (Harry Dean Stanton) the night before a big tournament, when he challenges Burke to an off-the-record cockfight. Two years later, Frank is still struggling to win the award. To prove his seriousness, he has vowed never to speak again until he claims the medal. This puts an obvious strain on his relationship with Mary Elizabeth (Patricia Pearcy), who is contemplating marriage with another man. Frank truly believes that if Mary Elizabeth sees him in the ring, doing what he does best, she will embrace and accept who he is, and will agree to marry him. As the most important tournament nears, Frank continues to focus solely on his rooster, believing that it holds his only chance at redemption. Frequent Monte Hellman collaborator Oates barely speaks in the film, but his presence is nonetheless electrifying, making COCKFIGHTER a deeply moving drama.
MAD DOG MORGAN: Daniel Morgan (Dennis Hopper) slaves away his life as an Australian gold miner. He has an early education in haves and have-nots after he witnesses a gang of racist thugs burn down the Chinese camp near his workplace. Later, Morgan is imprisoned and beaten. He leaves jail only to follow his true vocation as a plains robber and, eventually, receives the nickname "Mad Dog" for his eccentric ways. His dubious celebrity shows signs of fading, though, when a weathered investigator and a mob pick up his crime-ridden trail.