John Wayne: 1907 – 1979
John Wayne (born Marion Morrison) was the son of pharmacist Clyde Morrison and his wife Mary. Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, where they tried ranching in the Mojave Desert. Until the ranch failed, Marion and his younger brother Robert E. Morrison swam in an irrigation ditch and rode a horse to school. When the ranch failed, the family moved to Glendale, California, where Marion delivered medicines for his father, sold newspapers and had an Airedale dog named "Duke" (the source of his own nickname). He did well at school both academically and in football. When he narrowly failed admission to Annapolis he went to USC on a football scholarship 1925-7. Tom Mix got him a summer job as a prop man in exchange for football tickets. On the set he became close friends with director John Ford for whom, among others, he began doing bit parts, some billed as John Wayne. After more than 70 low-budget westerns and adventures, mostly routine, Wayne's career was stuck in a rut until Ford cast him in Stagecoach (1939), the movie that made him a star. He appeared in nearly 250 movies, many of epic proportions. In 1944 he helped found the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a right-wing political organization, later becoming its President. His conservative political stance was also reflected in The Alamo (1960), which he produced, directed and starred in. His patriotic stand was enshrined in The Green Berets (1968) which he co-directed and starred in. Over the years Wayne was beset with health problems. In September 1964 he had a cancerous left lung removed; in March 1978 there was heart valve replacement surgery; and in January 1979 his stomach was removed. He received the Best Actor nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and finally got the Oscar for his role as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969). A Congressional Gold Medal was struck in his honor in 1979. He is perhaps best remembered for his parts in Ford's cavalry trilogy - FortApache (1948), She Wore a YellowRibbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950).
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Ranchers Walton and Turner are losing cattle to rustlers and they each blame the other. After Walton and Clint Turner (John Wayne) argue, Walton is found shot and Sheriff Buck Gordon (Buck Jones) has to arrest his friend Clint. With Clint scheduled to be hung, Sheriff Gordon desperately looks for evidence to clear him.
This is John Wayne's first big Western since his disastrous debut as a leading man in the Big Trail (1930).
Written by prolific pulp writer William Colt MacDonald, this Tim McCoy Columbia Studios Western may have been the forerunner of McDonald's later so popular The Three Mesqueteers. John Wayne, whose character is named, appropriately, Duke, and Wallace MacDonald (no relation to William Colt) play McCoy's loyal ranch hands, and although they remain in the background for part of the action, the germ of the triad hero is there. Tim McCoy plays a rancher (Tim Clark) losing his property to a crooked money-lender turned cattle rustler (Wheeler Oakman). The dastardly villain is in league with a sheriff's deputy (Walter Brennan) and together they rob the Wells Fargo. There is a final shootout and the dying deputy confesses to both the Wells Fargo heist and to the fact that Tim's ranch was illegally obtained. John Wayne, who didn't get along with Tim McCoy and had several rows with studio czar Harry Cohn, swore that he would never again work for Columbia, a promise he kept.
3. Sagebrush Trail (1933) – John Wayne
Imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, John Brant (John Wayne) escapes and ends up out west where, after giving the local lawmen the slip, he joins up with an outlaw gang. Brant finds out that 'Jones' (Nancy Shubert), one of the outlaws he has become friends with, committed the murder that Brant was sent up for, but has no knowledge that anyone was ever put in jail for his crime.
4. Riders of Destiny (1933) – John Wayne
John Wayne portrays Singin' Sandy Saunders and has a reputation as the most notorious gunman since Billy the Kid. That's somewhat ironic though, since it's later revealed that he's a special Secret Service agent sent from Washington to investigate a land swindle scheme under the direction of town boss James Kincaid (Forrest Taylor).
Ted Hayden (John Wayne) impersonates a wanted man and joins Gentry's gang only to learn later that Gentry was the one who killed his father. He saves Virginia Winters' dad's ranch from Gentry and also rescues his long-lost brother Spud.
6. The Star Packer (1934) – John Wayne
A gang working for The Shadow is terrorizing the town. John Travers (John Wayne) decides to take on the job of sheriff and do something about it.
7. The Trail Beyond (1934) – John Wayne
Rod Drew (John Wayne) has been sent to find a missing miner (Noah Beery Sr) and his daughter (Verna Hillie). He is joined by old friend Wabi (Noah Beery Jr.) whom he has to rescue from card cheats that framed him for murder. Later they find a skeleton and a map to a mine.
8. Randy Rides Alone (1934) - John Wayne
Jailed for murders he didn't commit, Randy Bowers (John Wayne) escapes only to stumble into the den of the real murderers.
9. Blue Steel (1934) – John Wayne
When Sheriff Jake Withers (George Hayes) sees John Carruthers (John Wayne) at the safe and then finds the payroll gone, he trails him. Just as he is about to arrest him, John saves his life. Still suspicious, he joins up with the man and later they learn that Melgrove (Edward Peil Sr.), the towns leading citizen, is trying to take over the area's ranches by having his gang stop all incoming supply wagons.
10. The Lawless Frontier (1934) – John Wayne
John Tobin (John Wayne) is after the bandit Zanti (Earl Dwire) who killed his parents.
He finds him just as Zanti is about to kill Dusty (George Hayes) and kidnap Ruby (Sheila Terry). Saving the two, he goes after Zanti.
11. The Lucky Texan (1934) – John Wayne
Jerry Mason (Wayne), a young Texan, and Jake Benson (Hayes), an old rancher, become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. They then find their lives complicated by bad guys and a woman.
12. Neath The Arizona Skies (1934) – John Wayne
Neath The Arizona Skies finds John Wayne as the guardian of little Shirley Jean Rickert who is a half Indian little tyke who stands to inherit some really big bucks because property her Mother left before she died has oil on it. Dad's been out of the picture for some time and most believe he's dead.
The Duke thinks otherwise and sets off to find him.
The Marshal sends John Weston (John Wayne) to a rodeo to see if he can find out who is killing the rodeo riders who are about to win the prize money.
Barton (Edward Peil Sr.) has organized the rodeo and plans to leave with all the prize money put up by the townspeople. When it appears that Weston will beat Barton's rider, he has his men prepare the same fate for him that befell the other riders.
14. Rainbow Valley (1935) – John Wayne John Martin (John Wayne) is a government agent working under cover. Leading citizen Morgan calls in gunman Butch Galt (Buffalo Bill Jr.) who blows Martin's cover
15. The Desert Trail (1935) – John Wayne
Just after John Scott (John Wayne) gets his rodeo prize money, the Official is robbed and murdered by Pete (Al Ferguson). Pete then says he just saw John and his friend Kansas Charlie (Eddy Chandler) leaving the office. The two fugitives flee to another town where they assume new names. But Pete arrives to point them out and they find themselves in jail.
16. Paradise Canyon (1935) – John Wayne
Government agent John Wyatt (John Wayne) is searching for a counterfeit ring operating on the Mexican/Arizona border and joins Doc Carter's (Earle Hodgins) traveling medicine show as a sharpshooter.
17. Texas Terror (1935) – John Wayne:
Sheriff John Higgins (John Wayne) quits and goes into prospecting after he thinks he has killed his best friend in shooting it out with robbers. He encounters his dead buddy's sister and helps her run her ranch. Then she finds out about his past.
18. The Dawn Rider (1935) – John Wayne
John Mason (John Wayne), returning home from a long absence, he arrives at the time his father is killed in a bank
robbery.His best friend's girl (Marion Burns) takes care of him after he’s being shot.
19. Winds of the Wasteland (1936) – John Wayne
The arrival of the telegraph put Pony Express riders like John Blair (John Wayne) and his pal Smoky (Lane Chandler) out of work they try to start a stagecoach route through a ghost town.
A rival stagecoach company tries to stop them.
20. King of the Pecos (1936) - John Wayne (A Republic Picture) - Profiteer Alexander Stiles (Cy Kendell) lays claim to a million acres of range in the Pecos River country, but a rancher named Claybor stands in his way as he has already claimed the water-rich location of Sweetwater as his own, and refuses Stiles' $1000 offer for his land. Led by the murderous Ash, the hired guns of Stiles kill Clayborn and his wife but their young son John survives and joins his grandfather in Austin. As the boy grows into a man (John Wayne) he learns the use of a law book as well as a six gun, intending to use both to bring Stiles to justice.
21. Hell Town (1937) – John Wayne & Johnny Mack Brown
John Wayne plays the role of Dare Rudd, a drifter who gambles his money away and just can't seem to settle down until he goes back to his relative, Tom Fillmore (Johnny Mack Brown) who owns a great deal of cattle and runs the bank in town.
Tom knows that Dare has a bad reputation but he gives him a chance and offers him a job to cook for his cattlemen. Tom has a girlfriend named Judy Rustoe, (Marsha Hunt) and Dare soon becomes very interested in her and they both start falling for each other.
22. Stagecoach - John Wayne (1939)
Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board. Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is the wife of a cavalry officer stationed in Lordsburg, and she's determined to be with him. Hatfield (John Carradine) is a smooth-talking cardsharp who claims to be along to "protect" Lucy, although he seems to have romantic intentions. Dr. Boone (Thomas Mitchell) is a self-styled philosopher, a drunkard, and a physician who's been stripped of his license. Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) is a slightly nervous whiskey salesman (and, not surprisingly, Dr. Boone's new best friend). Gatewood (Berton Churchill) is a crooked banker who needs to get out of town. Buck (Andy Devine) is the hayseed stage driver, and Sheriff Wilcox (George Bancroft) is along to offer protection and keep an eye peeled for the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), a well-known outlaw who has just broken out of jail.
Cowboy Dan Somers (John Wayne) and oilman Jim "Hunk" Gardner (Albert Dekker) compete for oil lease rights on Indian land in Oklahoma, as well as for the favors of schoolteacher Cathy Allen (Martha Scott). Dale Evans plays “Cuddles” Baxter. George “Gabby” Hayes plays Desprit Dean.
John Wayne plays Quirt Evans, a gunslinger with a nasty rep who is injured and nursed back to health by a Quaker family.
25. Mclintock (1963) - John Wayne (Color):
This great comedy western stars John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Chill Wills, and Strother Marten. There is a hilarious mud-hole fight scene at the end.
26. The Shepherd of the Hills (1941) - John Wayne (Color) - Young Matt Masters (John Wayne), an Ozark Mountains moonshiner, hates the father he has never seen, who apparently deserted Matt's mother and left her to die. His obsession contributes to the hatred rampant in the mountains. However, the arrival of a stranger, Daniel Howitt, begins to positively affect the mountain people, who learn to shed their hatred under his gentle influence. Still, Matt does not quite trust Howitt.
27. Red River (1948) John Wayne, Montgomery Clift (Color)
Dunson (John Wayne) is driving his cattle to Red River when his adopted son, Matthew (Montgomery Clift), turns against him.
28. The Big Trail (1930) - John Wayne - The Big Trail is a 1930 lavish early widescreen movie shot on location across the American West starring John Wayne in his first leading role and directed by Raoul Walsh. [added]
29. The Spoilers (1942) John Wayne and Randolph Scott - In Nome, Alaska, miner Roy Genitor (John Wayne) and his partner Dextry, financed by saloon entertainer Cherry Malotte (Marlene Dietrich), fight to save their gold claim from crooked commissioner Alexander McNamara (Randolph Scott). [added]
30. The Lawless Nineties (1936) - John Wayne - Federal agent John Tipton (John Wayne) heads for Wyoming to supervise the vote on whether to join the Union. One group of locals is using dynamite to terrorize the populace and a local newspaper editor is killed. [added]
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