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What is it that first draws it to the western? Or for that matter is it the story, the folklore, the actors perhaps or just the plain and simple thought that life was truly better then?

For me it is a combination of all of those reasons and so much more. But the real question  is what draws us to the John Wayne style especially? Now some may argue that Clint Eastwood would be the  better western star,  but to me there is only one true western star and that would be John Wayne.

Just the life and times of John Wayne lead to the western genera being and defining his own mold. Born in the mid-west at the turn of the century in a small town then moved to a town in California were his favorite movie actors included Tom Mix and Harry Carrey played football but during the summer months got a job at a studio as a prop mover for extra cash. Discovered by John Ford over a football move of all things.

First movie under the name John Wayne “The Big Trail” 1930, about heading west set in the early pioneer days during the 1840′s. Last movie “The Shootist” set in 1910 about the end of the legend, a time when the west was already formed.There are so many westerns and non westerns that he made in between his huge career. He made real life stories as well, David Crockett, in “The Alamo” 1960 General William Tecumseh Sherman in “How the West Was Won “1962, Townsend Harris,  in the 1958 movie The Barbarian and the GeishaThat is just a few of the real life heroes that he has portrayed on film.

When we were younger how many of us wished he had thrown “Duke” his rife in “Rio Bravo” 1959 instead of Ricky Nelson? Or for that matter wished we had been so lucky as to have gotten advise on women like  Fabian  in “North to Alaska” 1960? Or even Ron Howard in “The Shootist” 1976 a shooting lesson plus what it means to be a man? Or even like Kim Darby in “True Grit “1969 a young kid who hires a drunk marshal to avenge our fathers murder? Once again the list could and would go on from minor roles, to huge fame. Diving into the dust of the road in “Stagecoach” 1939? Turning over our gun to fall in love “Angel and the Badman”1947.

To me the western as we know it would not be close to where it is now without John Wayne building a bridge for others to follow. Including Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, and a few others of the older genera. And even to the few others who are younger Russel Crow and Christian Bale in “3:10 to Yuma ” 2007, is the western dead? By no means it  is still alive but the western has lost a huge bridge when Duke died 1979.

Comments

  1. Eileen Davis says:

    I have almost all of John Wayne’s movies, either on VHS or DVD. I love them all. I have never figured out why he wasn’t nominated or won more Oscars. I agree that True Grit was a great movie and I love it. There is one movie that no one ever talks about that I think should have won him an Oscar in 1952. “Island in the Sky” is probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. The passion in John’s acting is amazing. Watch it and see what you think.

    • Alisha Gomez says:

      I’ll tell you why John Wayne did’nt get any more awards then he did. Cause the people who give them out are Liberals,and John Wayne was NO liberal. He was a Republican who loved this country and wasn’t afraid to say it. And they didnt like that. If you dont fit in to there clicks you dont get any think.Its purely Political. I’m glad he didnt give in.I love him more for it.

  2. Cathy Olson says:

    I have been a John Wayne fan all my life. One of my favorite memories was going to every John Wayne movie as a family. We couldn’t wait until the next one came out. Thanks to being able to collect them on VHS and DVD, my children and grandchildren love to watch John Wayne. So now we have 4 generations if John Wayne fans.

  3. Belinda Moses says:

    Westerns will never be dead to me…..I will always love them…..John Wayne Westerns are some of my favorites ! The only problem I really have with them is the portrayal of Native Americans in some of them…..They are portrayed as drunken fools…..which is very disrespectful…and not typical of all Native Americans…

    • Laurel Frank says:

      I have Apache & Cherokee blood running through my veins. It has never bothered me the way Indians were portrayed, because it is just a movie. Not all westerns portrayed them that way either. I wasn’t around back then & neither were the people who wrote the scripts & neither were you so we don’t know what was typical of them. You can only base your assumption on your lifetime. I am part Indian & very proud of it!!!!
      In my opinion the westerns of today (1980′s on) just don’t compare with the westerns of the 40′s & 50′s. To me the only westerns worth watching in the 60′s & 70′s were John Wayne’s movies. He was & always will be the greatest western star ever!!!!

      • Phillip Vierke says:

        There is a man, an intelligent and articulate actor and writer, who has done more to advance the image of the Native American on screen than any other, and his name is, Graham Greene!

  4. George Berdiner says:

    The “Duke’s” special persona was formed by the great John Ford’s direction. Perhaps, another great director, i.e. Ron Howard could reate the bye-gone western and it’s characters.

    Saddle em up! We’re burnin daylight, pilgrims!

  5. i love john wayne in all the movies and westerns he played in. i also like the war movies that he played in. we need more movies like the ones back in the old days.i have a couple movies that he is in.

  6. brad hubbell says:

    if amc would play more eldorado and rio bravo on sat urdays

  7. WILLETT MCMULIN says:

    JOHN WAYNE HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL (I WILL BE 81 IN MAY). I HAVE ALMOST ALL HIS MOVIES- VHS, DVD AND EVEN HIM SINGING. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IF IT’S A WESTERN OR MILITARY – I LOVE “SANDS OF IWO JIMA AND OPERATION PACIFIC – ALL OF THEM. HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE – IT’S LIKE SAYING WHICH CHILD DO YOU LIKE BEST. I MISS HIM BUT I’M SO THANKFUL THEY CONTINUE TO STILL SHOW HIS MOVIES ON TV EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THEM ON MY SHELVES I STILL WATCH THEM WHEN EVER THEY ARE ON. YOU CAN TELL HIS VOICE FOR SURE IF YOU AREN’T IN THE ROOM WHEN HE COMES ON- LET’S KEEP JOHN (DUKE) AROUND FOREVER!!!

  8. Dave says:

    I still watch Westerns everyday. Rifleman and Rawhide on ME TV. Love them! I also will not miss a Duke film, whether it is a war or western movie. He is the best! He is a true American!

  9. Robert Boutin says:

    I bought “In Harms Way” a while ago….really like that show, but wish I had more westerns like “The Cowboys” …..the only show that I can recall him dead.

  10. Dale Thomas says:

    If you really want to teach your kids and/or grandkids morals, the cowboy way and honor, get a John Wayne western. Sit down and watch it with them as you can teach them more than you can imagine as well as special time together. We need more John Wayne type heros.

  11. thom kyte says:

    John Wayne was from the era when the good man always wore a white hat and the good always prevailed over bad, in todays movies it glorifies the bad over the good, they have no moral fiber and likewise we have no “movie stars” that are of the same caliber that the “Duke” had. Yes we have good actors and actresses but they are not “movie stars”.

  12. Larry Payne says:

    I think the western we all know and love may be fading. What you get now are movies like Cowboys and Aliens or weak remakes of classic westerns. I don’t wantg to see Parody westerns, which I think The Lone Ranger will turn out to be, I want to see real westerns. But, most of the real western actors like Sam Elliot, Tom Seleck, Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, etc. are dwindling and there are no young western actors on the horizon.
    Even on the book front you are finding modern westerns, a term I despise by the way, sci-fi westerns, paranormal westerns, Western Horror. PUHLEASE!!!
    I write traditional westerns. The good, old fashioned western. I refuse to write any other kind. I just wish Hollywood would do the same!

  13. Donna says:

    Just so you know The Shootist was set in 1901 not 1910, minor point. I am a huge John Wayne fan and some of my best memories going up was going down to my grandparents and snuggling up on the couch with my granddad and watching John Wayne all night.

  14. John Wayne..= A True American. I love this man In my %
    55 years I’ve watched all his Films even the old B films John Wayne is one of the Immortals. He will live forever!

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