John Wayne Collection, The: The Cowboys/ The Searchers/ Stagecoach
John Wayne had brawled bareknuckle, gunned down desperadoes, fought jungle wars and piloted the skies. But The Cowboys gave him one of his juiciest roles as a leather-tough rancher who, deserted by his regular help, hires 11 greenhorn schoolboys for a cattle drive across 400 treacherous miles. When the dust settled, Wayne had given one of his best performances. "In The Cowboys," Rex Reed wrote, "all the that have made him a dominant personality as well as a major screen presence seem to combine. Old Dusty Britches can act." Co-starring the equally memorable Roscoe Lee Browne, Colleen Dewhurst and Bruce Dern, The Cowboys is exciting proof.
With The Searchers, John Wayne and director John Ford forged an indelible saga of the frontier and the men women who challenged it. Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, an ex-Confederate who sets out to find his niece, captured by Comanches who massacred his family. He won't surrender to hunger, thirst, the elements or loneliness. And in his obsessive quest, Ethan finds something unexpected: his own humanity. One of the most influential movies ever made, The Searchers contains sequences that are "a brilliant fusing of editing, camerawork and performance as filtered through a master director's eyes" (Ted Sennett, Great Hollywood Westerns).
Nine disparate travelers are thrust together on a Stagecoach destined for Apache territory...and movie immortality. As the Ringo Kid, director John Ford cast a lanky veteran of 70 B-movies, serials and shorts named John Wayne. Each rifle shot a closeup rang out the news: a new star is born. Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell (his Academy Award winning performance) and others make memorable impressions. Stunt legend Yakima Canutt provided hair-raising thrills. And 17 American folk songs formed the basis of an Oscar-winning score. This grown up adventure ushered in a 30-year era of great Westerns, many teaming its supreme practitioners - Ford and Wayne.