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John Wayne

John Wayne Rode His Own Horse Named Dollar in 7 Movies

Western movie star John Wayne frequently rode a horse to complete his cowboy image. However, he grew an affinity for one animal in particular. Wayne went out of his way to ensure that he could ride the same horse named Dollar across seven of his movies.

‘True Grit’ (1969)

L-R: John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn and Glen Campbell as La Boeuf | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The first time that Wayne worked with Dollar the horse on the silver screen was in 1969’s True Grit, directed by Henry Hathaway.

A 14-year-old named Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) seeks out U.S. Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn (Wayne), a man of “true grit.” He’ll need every ounce of it on a mission to track down a hired hand named Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey) after he killed Mattie’s father.

Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Glen Campbell) joins them on the hunt, looking to bring Tom to justice for killing a Texas senator.

Wayne earned his one, and only Oscar win for his performance in True Grit. Rooster rode his horse throughout the movie, but the final showdown scene is perhaps the most memorable.

‘Chisum’ (1970)

'Chisum' John Wayne as John Chisum riding a horse in a western costume

John Wayne as John Chisum | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Set in Lincoln County, New Mexico, John Chisum (Wayne) works as a successful cattle baron. His peaceful life is about to be put on the line when the unethical Lawrence Murphy (Forrest Tucker) and his business partner, James Dolan (Edward Faulkner), purchase the majority of the land and businesses nearby.

The horses in Chisum play an important part in the story, especially in a sequence where a couple of Chisum’s men are killed, and the herd is stolen.

‘Big Jake’ (1971)

'Big Jake' Bruce Cabot as Sam Sharpnose, Christopher Mitchum as Michael McCandles, John Wayne as Jacob McCandles, and Patrick Wayne as James McCandles on their horses, holding guns in front of a shack.L-R: Bruce Cabot as Sam Sharpnose, Christopher Mitchum as Michael McCandles, John Wayne as Jacob McCandles, and Patrick Wayne as James McCandles | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The villainous John Fain (Richard Boone) leads a gang of violent men to take over the McCandles Ranch. They target Jacob McCandles’ (Wayne) grandson to kidnap, demanding $1 million in ransom for his safe return. As a result, Big Jake will have to discover a way to rescue the boy.

When it comes to devising a plan, the titular hero of Big Jake wants to do things the old-fashioned way. He refuses to simply lie down and accept his fate. Wayne once again rides his horse, Dollar, to seek justice.

‘The Cowboys’ (1972)

'The Cowboys' John Wayne as Wil Andersen riding his horse in a field followed by a herd of other horses.John Wayne as Wil Andersen | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wil Andersen (Wayne) is left in a difficult position when his ranch hands decide to chase the gold rush. Now an older rancher, he must find replacement drovers to help him on his 400-mile cattle drive. Wil makes the difficult decision to hire local schoolboys to get the job done.

The Cowboys is all about the horses and the rest of the animals, as they’re the mission that Wil set out to accomplish. The film is infamous for killing off Wayne’s character in a violent climactic scene, but it remains a truly memorable installment in the actor’s career.

‘The Train Robbers’ (1973)

'The Train Robbers' John Wayne as Lane among other travelers on horses above an image of sand dunes with broken stagecoachesJohn Wayne as Lane | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret) puts out a $50,000 reward for anybody who discovers a hidden reward after the death of her husband. Lane (Wayne) puts together a group of cowboys to head into Mexico with Mrs. Lowe, yearning for the reward money. They soon realize that they have some company from a mysterious single rider with his own agenda.

Wayne finds a trusty sidekick in his horse in The Train Robbers, as he travels into unfamiliar territory.

‘Rooster Cogburn’ (1975)

'Rooster Cogburn' Katharine Hepburn smiling on the back of the horse in a black-and-white picture.Katharine Hepburn | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Rooster Cogburn (Wayne) is preceded by his reputation, but now he’s without a badge. He sets his sights on getting it back by hunting down a gang of bandits and their stolen shipment of explosives. Cogburn’s job is only made more difficult by the daughter of one of the gang’s victims, who demands to come along on the journey.

Rooster Cogburn is a sequel to the Oscar-winning True Grit, and it’s the only film that Hepburn and Wayne made together. Nevertheless, the Western movie star still brought Dollar along for the ride.

‘The Shootist’ (1976)

'The Shootist' John Wayne as J.B. Books holding out his pistol, while sitting on horseback.John Wayne as J.B. Books | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

An aging gunfighter named J.B. Books (Wayne) is shocked to discover from the local doctor that he has cancer and doesn’t have very long left to live. He decides to rent a room from a widow (Lauren Bacall) and her son (Ron Howard), hoping to die in peace with dignity. However, people with questionable motives approach him, which ultimately leads him to want to go out with a bang.

The Shootist is the final movie that Wayne made before he died in 1979 from stomach cancer. It perfectly summed up his career in the Western genre, but perhaps it hit a little too close to home for some.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Once Revealed His Favorite Western Scene He Ever Filmed

John Wayne is known as the gritty, rugged cowboy who will go to any length, including putting his own life at risk, to save his town or those he loves. Though his catalog isn’t wall-to-wall action films, the movies for which he’s best known involve shootouts, chasing outlaws on horseback, and plenty of high-stakes stunts.

Surprisingly, however, the scene The Duke calls his best involves neither a galloping steed nor a deadly gun battle. In fact, it breaks from his typically unwavering machismo entirely. Rather than a brave defense of the Alamo or a passionate sequence with a love interest, John Wayne’s favorite scene is a melancholy-filled moment in True Grit (1969).

In the film, a 62-year-old Wayne plays Rooster Cogburn, a one-eyed federal marshal who’s let himself go. The Duke’s favorite scene is a rare one for a John Wayne character. During a stakeout, Cogburn opens up about his failed marriage, his relationship with his son, and his days making ends meet as a bank robber. In that moment, all the stoic roughness melts away and is replaced by a touching wistfulness.

For John Wayne, the break from his typical strapping cowboy persona was welcome. “It’s sure as hell my first decent role in 20 years,” he said of True Grit in an interview with Roger Ebert. “And my first chance to play a character role instead of John Wayne. Ordinarily, they just stand me there and run everybody up against me.”

John Wayne Once Described Creating the Western Genre

The Western genre can’t be discussed without mentioning The Duke. The original cowboys, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, changed the face of cinema forever, shaping Westerns as we know them today. For Wayne, that was something for which he felt an immense amount of pride. Even in 1969, he knew that he had built a legacy that would last forever.

“I’m very conscious that people criticize Hollywood,” Wayne explained to Roger Ebert. “Yet we’ve created a form, the Western, that can be understood in every country. The good guys against the bad guys. No nuances. And the horse is the best vehicle of action in our medium. You take action, a scene, and scenery, and cut them together, and you never miss. Action, scene, scenery.”

“When you think about the Western…ones I’ve made, for example,” he continued. “Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers, a picture named Hondo had a little depth to it…it’s an American art form. It represents what this country is about.”

“In True Grit, for example, that scene where Rooster shoots the rat. That was a kind of reference to today’s problems. Oh, not that True Grit has a message or anything. But that scene was about less accommodation, and more justice.”

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John Wayne

John Wayne Pushed Through a Severe Injury to Ensure ‘The Train Robbers’ Premiered on Schedule

John Wayne is known around the world as one of the most iconic cowboys of all time. Decades after his death, John Wayne continues to be praised for his nearly 200 unforgettable appearances in film and television. And though his larger-than-life presence, good looks, and husky voice took him far in Hollywood, it was his commitment to his films that led to John Wayne playing such a large role in cinema history.

The Duke began his career in 1926. As time went on, the stoic superstar developed a reputation as a stunt man. Many of his Westerns involved action-heavy scenes, and the technology to make stunt work easier to fake didn’t yet exist. As such, many legendary John Wayne films were extremely physically demanding.

Hiring a stunt man was an option used by many in Hollywood. But The Duke refused. Instead, he insisted on doing his stunts himself. Though this was an admirable step to take, it led to many injuries for Wayne throughout his career.

The audience knew that the hero would win in the end, but reaching victory often involved getting punched, kicked, shot, and stabbed along the way. He was even blown up and crushed by a bulldozer (on separate occasions, of course).

John Wayne Filmed ‘The Train Robbers’ With Broken Ribs

Perhaps the most horrifying injury of John Wayne’s career occurred on the set of the 1973 Western The Train Robbers. In the film, Wayne plays the starring role of Lane, the leader of a group of cowboys hunting down a dastardly train robber.

According to the John Wayne biography entitled Duke by Ronald L. Davis, The Duke broke two ribs mere days before filming began on The Train Robbers. As Wayne was an irreplaceable star, the injury led to a rearranging of the film. Rather than focusing on high-speed chases and deadly battles between cowboys and outlaws, The Train Robbers honed in on dialogue and character building.

That said, it was still a Western, and every Western needs a certain amount of action. For The Duke, it was essential that “the action scenes looked believable”. Wayne was so committed to his scenes that he flat-out refused to work around his injury. “He wasn’t a crybaby,” his wife Pilar Wayne told The LA Times. “He could tolerate pain.”

And tolerate pain, he did. John Wayne pushed through the broken ribs, determined to keep the film as close to the original script as possible. While filming, he was clearly limited with his movements and he appeared somewhat ill on set.

On-screen, however, no one could tell the difference. The Duke still gave a fantastic performance. Three years later, his Hollywood career came to an end, but John Wayne will always be remembered as the tough-as-nails actor he truly was.

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John Wayne

Original Cast of John Wayne’s ‘The Cowboys’ to Celebrate Film’s 50th Anniversary With The Duke’s Family

The career of John Wayne is one of the most revered in all of American filmmaking regardless of genre. Even long after his death, his unmatched contributions to the Western film genre are still a thing of legend.

John Wayne: An American Experience, The Cowboy Channel, Stockyards Heritage, and Hotel Drover have partnered up with the members of the cast of The Cowboys and Wayne’s family. Together, they will host a celebratory festival in honor of the 50th anniversary of the fan-favorite film. The official John Wayne Instagram page announced the event by paying tribute to one of Wayne’s many iconic moments.


“In honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Cowboys, celebrate with members of the original cast & the Wayne family June 24, 25, & 26 in the Fort Worth Stockyards! For a list of events and tickets, head to JohnWayne.com”

The 1972 film is based on the book of the same name by William Dale Jennings. Wayne stars alongside Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst, and Bruce Dern. The Cowboys tells the story of a down on his luck rancher being forced to hire a group of inexperienced cowboys to get his herd to market on time. It’s one of Wayne’s most enduring films with his performance often regarded as one of his best.

The Cowboys Still Holds A Special Place in Hearts of Film Fans

Fans of the film will no doubt be thrilled by the opportunity to hear directly from the people who worked and lived alongside Wayne during the making of the classic film. One member of the cast, A Martinez who played Cimarron, took to his own Instagram account to post a message about his experience shooting The Cowboys for its 50th anniversary.


“It was a thrill and an honor to be a part of this project,” said Martinez in his post. “A haunting, timeless theme, adapted from the novel by William Dale Jennings, brilliantly directed by Rydell. With gorgeous cinematography by Bob Surtees, an indelible score by John Williams –– and a great performance by John Wayne –– the power of #TheCowboys abides.”

The 3-day celebration includes outdoor screenings after sunset on the Livestock Exchange lawn all three nights. Fans will have meet and greet opportunities with 9 members of the cast. Then, A live televised film panel with a studio audience will film at The Cowboy Channel Studio Sunday night. In addition, there will be special installations and reception at John Wayne: An American Experience, a sprawling 10,000 square foot exhibit providing an intimate look at the life of The Duke.

Any fan of John Wayne who can make it to Fort Worth, Texas for this celebration of a beloved piece of Wayne’s filmography should purchase tickets as soon as possible. Relive the memories of this classic film alongside cast members and Wayne’s family with the special event.

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