In 1909, when John Fain's gang kidnaps Jacob McCandles' grandson and holds him for ransom, Big Jake sets out to rescue the boy.


George Sherman, John Wayne (uncredited)


Harry Julian Fink (story and screenplay), Rita M. Fink (story and screenplay) (as R.M. Fink)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Jacob McCandles
Richard Boone ... John Fain
Maureen O'Hara ... Martha McCandles
Patrick Wayne ... James McCandles
Christopher Mitchum ... Michael McCandles (as Chris Mitchum)
Bobby Vinton ... Jeff McCandles
Bruce Cabot ... Sam Sharpnose
Glenn Corbett ... O'Brien
Harry Carey Jr. ... Pop Dawson
John Doucette ... Buck Dugan
Jim Davis ... Head of Lynching Party
John Agar ... Bert Ryan
Gregg Palmer ... John Goodfellow
Jim Burk Jim Burk ... Trooper
Robert Warner Robert Warner ... Will Fain


McCandles Ranch is run over by a gang of cutthroats led by the evil John Fain. They kidnap little Jacob McCandles and hold him for one million dollars ransom. There is only one man brave enough, tough enough, and smart enough to bring him back alive, and that man is Big Jake. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


John Wayne and Richard Boone star in a thrilling chase across the changing frontier See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for western violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Tenth out of ten John Wayne films co-starring his son, Patrick Wayne. See more »


Impossibly fast deer! When Big Jake challenges Michael to shoot a mountain buck, he says it is a quarter mile away. But then Jake says it's too late, because the buck starts running. Michael raises his rifle and takes aim at the running buck through his rifle scope at an approximate 60 degree angle to the viewer. In less than two seconds, Michael swings his rifle following the running buck to a nearly 110 degree angle and then shoots. A buck at 440 yards away and moving 50 degrees from the shooter in less than 2 seconds would be running at an astonishing 379 miles per hour! In reality, mule deer (which this deer clearly was) have a top running speed of 45 miles per hour. See more »


Michael McCandles: You want to chance it, Mother?
Martha McCandles: Buck?
Buck Duggan: No matter what happens, I think they'll kill the boy sooner or later. Texas has the best rifleman in the world, luck with 200 yards to hit them...
Martha McCandles: It's very daring, yes. Yes, I'll chance it. What you think. Jacob?
Jacob 'Big Jake' McCandles: Suit yourself, Martha
Martha McCandles: I was asking your opinion, Jacob
Jacob 'Big Jake' McCandles: No. You made up your mind and you made your decision alone, you live it alone
Martha McCandles: I was wrong. You haven't changed, have you, Jacob McCandles.
Jacob 'Big Jake' McCandles: Not one bit.
See more »

User Reviews

Love the Duke!!
17 February 2005 | by rubinmail-oneSee all my reviews

First I have to say that I am a huge JW fan. In this film JW is his classic Kick A** self. There is some sentimental stuff in here, about the old man's relationship with his grown sons. Basically it is good old John Wayne Action. When the bad guys get the drop on him, all you can think is "Big mistake" This film is set in the early 1900s. There is an interesting parallel between the passing of the baton from one generation to the next (Jake and his grown sons) and the passing of technology. We see new fangled weapons and a motor car. (Naturally Jake rejects these)

Finally: You got to love the idea of Big Jake owning a dog named ..... DOG.

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 May 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Million Dollar Kidnapping See more »

Filming Locations:

Rancho Marley, Durango, Mexico See more »


Box Office


$4,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color | Black and White (photographs in opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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