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
Several reasons have been put forward for the film being in black and white. John Ford once claimed it added to the tension, but others involved with the production said Paramount was cutting costs, which was why the film was shot on sound stages at the studio. Without the budget restraints, Ford would have been in Monument Valley using Technicolor stock. It has also been suggested that since both John Wayne and James Stewart were playing characters 30 years younger than they're actual age (Wayne was 54 when the movie was filmed in the autumn of 1961 and Stewart was 53), the movie needed to be in black and white because they would never have got away with it in color. The age difference was particularly noticeable in Stewart's case, since he was playing a young lawyer who had only just graduated from law school and had moved west without even practicing law back east. 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.
See more »
Starring the greatest actor ever in Jimmy Stewart and the man who defined Western acting in John Wayne, one knew the movie was going to be good. But this movie tops them all. The movie continues through many great plot twists and unexpected events to arrive at a moving and stunning conclusion. Love, violence, politics, law, law-enforcement: this movie has it all. It is a western drama with action and even a little mystery topped off with a few comedic moments. Start to finish, you won't find anything like it anywhere else. Make sure you see this movie.
41 of 65 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?