When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson's restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it. Written by
John Ford had considered casting a young actor as Stoddard, but feared that would highlight the fact that John Wayne was too old to play Doniphon. See more »
In the flashback, Tom Doniphon tells Stoddard that he killed Liberty Valance, it is Stoddard who shoots first, than Doniphon. But since we've been shown that Stoddard can't hit the broad side of a barn (and in fact, his aim is wild), Doniphon's probably right. See more »
[descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch]
Thanks, Jason. On time.
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... so says John Wayne's character "Tom Doniphan" in this remarkable film to Lee Marvin's character "Liberty Valance" after Valance tripped Jimmy Stewart's character "Ransom Stoddard" while Ransom was bringing John Wayne his steak dinner. This film is undeniably the best western film ever made. Best story line, best acting, best filmed- and most irony.
There were so many memorable lines like the above in this film, i'm surprised that not more of them haven't made it into American slang.
John Wayne, always the perfect choice as a rough & rugged individualistic cowboy. Lee Marvin as the bad guy works every time, too. Jimmy Stewart, the frail idealist, works great in this film as well. Vera Miles gets the job done. My choice for best supporting actor in this film was the actor who played "Pompey", for his strong but understated performance. The scene where Tom was getting drunk and tries to force Pompey to drink with him was a great allegory- he was miserable and wanted everybody to be miserable with him.
If there's a better western out there, lemme know what it is!
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