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George Washington McLintock, "GW" to friends and foes alike, is a cattle baron and the richest man in the territory. He anxiously awaits the return of his daughter Becky who has been away at school for the last two years. He's also surprised to see that his wife Katherine has also returned. She had left him some years before without really explaining what he done but she does make the point of saying that she's returned to take their daughter back to the State Capitol with her. GW is highly respected by everyone around him including the farmers who are pouring into the territories with free grants of land and the Indians who are under threat of being relocated to another reservation. Between his wife, his headstrong daughter, the crooked land agent and the thieving government Indian agent, GW tries to keep the peace and do what is best for everyone. Written by
This is the Duke at his two-fisted, brawling best, along with Maureen O'Hara, who lights up the screen, in `McLintock!' a rousing western/comedy directed by Andrew W. McLaglen. John Wayne is George Washington McLintock, cattle baron and owner of just about everything around for as far as the eye can see. He owns cattle, mines and lumber, and even the town is named after him. And he's a fair man and a good employer to boot, who pays a fair wage for a good day's work. He even hires a young man, Devlin Warren (Patrick Wayne), who has come in with a group of homesteaders who have been given land by the government and plan to farm the Mesa Verde, even though, as McLintock warns them, it's impossible to farm at 6000 feet above sea level. In the meantime, young Devlin has to support his mother, Louise (Yvonne De Carlo) and his sister, Alice (Aissa Wayne). So G.W. even hires Louise to be the cook for his outfit. McLintock is The Man in these parts, and he earns the respect he is accorded by most of the good citizens of the territory. But he has one problem, and it's a big one; and it comes in quite a package: His estranged wife, Katherine (O'Hara), who has just come back to town to settle a certain issue with her husband. And the fireworks begin the minute she steps off the train.
The main bone of contention has to do with their daughter, Becky (Stefanie Powers), who will be returning home from college soon. Katherine wants to take her east to live; G.W. in having none of it. And shades of `Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,' that's his final answer. The real rub is that G.W. still loves Katherine, and he still doesn't know what put the burr in her saddle and caused her to leave him two years earlier. It's also obvious that Katherine still loves G.W., but she apparently can't get past whatever it was that caused the split in the first place. But her eyes sparkle whenever Drago (Chill Wills), G.W.'s right hand man, brings up the `good ol' days,' and she's reminded of when they started out with nothing but each other and a lot of love and courage.
There's a touch of `Taming of the Shrew,' in this story, and near the end Wayne and O'Hara virtually reenact one of their own scenes from `The Quiet Man,' all of which adds up to a couple of hours worth of good, old fashioned fun. This movie never pretends or aspires to be anything other than what it is, which is good, wholesome entertainment that features some memorable characters, lots of humor and some classic lines. The Duke is trim and healthy and never swaggered better, and O'Hara, in a green dress against which her gorgeous red hair absolutely glows, makes you wonder if there's ever been a more beautiful actress ever to grace the silver screen. And the two of them have a chemistry together that ranks right up there with the best pairings the movies ever had to offer. The Duke may be in command, but he certainly has his hands full with that fighting Irish wildcat, O'Hara. Together, they've created some moments on screen that will live forever.
Adding to the merriment is an all-star supporting cast that includes Jerry Van Dyke (Matt, Jr.), Hank Worden (Curly), Bruce Cabot (Ben), Jack Kruschen (Jake), Edgar Buchanan (Bunny), Perry Lopez (Davey Elk), Michael Pate (Puma), Strother Martin (Agard), Gordon Jones (Douglas), Robert Lowery (Governor Humphrey), H.W. Gim (Ching), Edward Faulkner (Young Ben), Chuck Roberson (Sheriff), Mari Blanchard (Camille), Leo Gordon (Jones), Bob Steele (Train Engineer) and Big John Hamilton (Fauntleroy). McLaglen sets the pace and keeps this vintage Wayne/O'Hara vehicle right on task, which makes `McLintock!' a classic in it's own right. It's a timeless film that captures the attitude and freedom of a time gone by that simply does not exist anymore in this, our `advanced' era of political correctness, which often stifles the very freedom it espouses. And watching this movie, it makes you wonder about the `progress' we've made in the past thirty years or so. As far as movies go, this one is magic, and it proves that they just don't make em like they used to. I rate this one 9/10.
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