Watched John Ford's 1956 Classic Western "The Searchers"

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
John Wayne

I haven’t watched a whole lot of Westerns before.  I hadn't seen any John Wayne films before.  So, this movie was something totally different for me.  “The Searchers” is a Western directed by
John Ford and starring John Wayne. 

It’s about a Civil War veteran named Ethan Edwards (
John Wayne) spending years looking for his kidnapped niece Debbie.  He is joined by his adoptive nephew Martin (Jeffrey Hunter). 

The story starts with Ethan returning to his brother’s home in Texas after being gone for 8 years. 

His absence for a whole three years after he was fighting for the Confederate Army in the Civil War implies that he has a questionable past.  After a raid by a Comanche Indian tribe, Ethan and Martin return to find the entire family murdered, except for the two girls, Debbie and Lucy, who appear to be abducted.

A large portion of the journey is told through a letter Martin writes to the young woman waiting for him, Laurie.

Natalie Wood plays Debbie when they finally find her.

One of the things that makes this an interesting movie is that John Wayne’s character is an antihero.  He’s pretty racist when it comes to Indians, even before the tribe murders the family, and he’s definitely got an unscrupulous past.  His actions support that he’s got a bit of a revenge streak in him as well.  There are definitely points of the movie that I thought he was a big jerk, but at the same time, I still empathized with him. 

I liked this movie, but I didn’t love it.  I appreciated that even though I didn’t love what Ethan stood for, I still wanted him to succeed.  I enjoyed the way the movie was shot.  It’s gorgeous, especially when watched on Blu-ray.  The locations were very cool.  The fight near the end of the movie was both entertaining and fun.

I felt some of the events that happened on their journey were superfluous.  They were probably shown to convey the passage of time, but to me, it felt a bit slow.  Like I said, I haven’t seen a ton of Westerns so it’s a bit difficult for me to gauge how this rates among them, but it’s a solid film all around.

Related Items:
The Searchers on Blu-ray
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