Stagecoach (1939)

Directed by John Ford and starring a young John Wayne, this classic western opens with various people boarding a stagecoach for various reasons. The passengers include a drunken doctor, a prostitute, a soft-spoken whiskey salesman, a gambling southern gentleman, an impatient banker, and the wife of a cavalry officer. Driving up top is Buck and the Marshall rides with his eyes open for the wanted Ringo Kid (Wayne) and the threat of Apaches. Despite their differences and the imminent danger, these people are forced to push on toward their destination together. They face unexpected challenges including hostile Apaches, but they finally do reach the town of Lordsburg. After the arrival, Ringo must figure out his relationship with Dallas while also facing the foes that are waiting for him. He does what he has to and ultimately his friends show their true colors. This film is a great character study with very good scenery, stunts, and action. As Wayne’s first big role, it is easy to see how he became a star after this performance. He was supported nicely by the likes of Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, Thomas Mitchell, and John Carradine. Without them and other like them this classic would lose the character depth that makes it work so well.

5/5 Stars

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