Skin Game

Skin Game is a 1971 American independent comedy western directed by Paul Bogart and Gordon Douglas, and starring James Garner and Louis Gossett, Jr. The supporting cast features Susan Clark, Edward Asner, Andrew Duggan, Parley Baer, and Royal Dano.

Skin Game
Theatrical poster
Directed byPaul Bogart
Gordon Douglas (uncredited)
Produced byHarry Keller
Written byRichard Alan Simmons (story)
Peter Stone (credited as "Pierre Marton")
StarringJames Garner
Louis Gossett Jr.
Susan Clark
Brenda Sykes
Edward Asner
Andrew Duggan
Music byDavid Shire
CinematographyFred J. Koenekamp
Edited byWalter Thompson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 30, 1971 (1971-09-30)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States


Quincy Drew (Garner) and Jason O'Rourke (Gossett) travel from town to town in the south of the United States during the slavery era. A flashback in the movie shows both men first met when Quincy sold Jason a horse- a stolen horse belonging to the local Sheriff. They meet again in jail after pulling various con jobs [in comic relief both end up with an Ace of Spade card from a crooked deck[!]; both then develop a con together in which Quincy claims to be a down-on-his-luck slave owner who is selling his only slave [Jason]. Quincy gets the bidding rolling, selling Jason, and the two later meet up to split the profit. Jason was born a free man in New Jersey and is very well educated. The twist comes when Jason is sold to a slave trader who is very savvy and intent on taking him down south to make a profit.



In January 1966 Harry Keller, a producer at Universal, announced he was developing the project based on a story by Richard Alan Simmons.[1]

In March 1968 Peter Stone signed to write the script.[2] In October 1968 Universal announced the film for the following year.[3]

In April 1969 Universal put the film on its slate for the following year. Keller would produce with Peter Stone, who wrote the script.[4]

The film did not go ahead. By September 1970 Keller announced the film would be made by James Garner's Cherokee Productions, releasing through Warner Bros with Burt Kennedy to direct. By December Kennedy had dropped out and was replaced by Paul Bogart.[5]

In January 1971 Lou Gosset signed to co star.[6]

In March Bogart fell ill with hepatitis and Gordon Douglas took over directing for a period of filming.[7]

Stone later claimed Garner radically changed the last third of the film to give him more screentime. These changes annoyed Stone who used a pseudonym on the film.[8]


A sequel was made three years later as a television film called Sidekicks, with Larry Hagman playing Garner's role and Gossett reprising his part.


  1. Duo Slated for 5 Pictures Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 21 Jan 1966: c6.
  2. MOVIE CALL SHEET: Plummer Gets Musical Lead Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 2 Mar 1968: 19.
  3. Universal Lists Films for 1969 Los Angeles Times 9 Oct 1968: c24.
  4. Universal Schedule Announced for 1970 Los Angeles Times 2 Apr 1969: h14
  5. MOVIE CALL SHEET: Culp, Raquel 'Caulder' Stars Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 21 Dec 1970: i19.
  6. MOVIE CALL SHEET: Geller Given Cinema Post Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 23 Jan 1971: b6.
  7. Heflin Set for 'Revengers' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 19 Mar 1971: e15.
  8. At the Movies: After 'Carrie' Amy Irving gets the E.S.P. in 'The Fury.' Buckley, Tom. New York Times 24 Feb 1978: C8.
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