Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
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
On Two Rode Together (1961), James Stewart wore the same hat in the film that he had worn in all his westerns with director Anthony Mann, prompting John Ford to remark, "Great, now I have actors with hat approval!". Ford refused to allow Stewart to wear any hat in this film, while John Wayne wore the most flamboyant wide-brimmed ten-gallon hat that he'd worn in film since the 1930s. See more »
The train conductor at the ending scene remarks to Ransom Stoddard that the train will be able to maintain a speed of 25mph all the way to Washington. Locomotives at the turn of the century (and later) were achieving speeds in excess of 90 mph. Considering that the closing scene is 30 or so yrs later than the main part of the film, the speed quoted is much too slow! Telephone service was already established in this mid western town as evidenced in the opening scene. The date could be well after the year 1900. See more »
[descending from railway carriage and consulting pocket watch]
Thanks, Jason. On time.
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John Ford directs this western story that opens with Senator Ransom Stoddard(played by Jimmy Stewart) arriving by train in the town of Shinbone, to attend the funeral of old friend Tom Doniphon(John Wayne). He tells a local newspaper reporter about his first arrival in Shinbone by stagecoach, where it is robbed by a bullying ruffian named Liberty Valance(Lee Marvin, well cast) As a young lawyer left only with his law books, he gets a job in a local restaurant as a dishwasher, only to run afoul of Valance again, who is being used by local landowners who oppose proposed statehood. Stoddard is approached to be a representative, and after being challenged by Liberty, is elected, though Valance decides that only a showdown can settle things...
Thoughtful and effective film is more a showcase for Stewart than Wayne, much the same way Stoddard comes to overshadow Tom, though both actors are equally memorable, as are the characters they play.
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