This week celebrates John Wayne’s 100th anniversary, and one of the networks is running 100 hours of marathon John Wayne. Does it date me to admit I remember watching his movies for real and not as re-runs?
Tonight they played the classic Red River. True heroism in every sense of the word . . . oddly enough the real hero of the movie wasn’t John Wayne, alias Dunston, but the young boy he’d adopted by the name of Matthew Garth. Great hero name–down to earth with real meaning behind it.
A mature Matthew Garth, hardened by the Civil War, returns to Texas and Dunston, his surrogate father, only to find the ranch he loves and help birth in desperate straights. Why? Carpet-baggers and money-grubbers abound in the state of Texas after the war. The only solution is to drive Dunston’s herd of 9,000 + cattle further North to a railroad. During the cattle drive, things go bad, as of course, they must for any western to be a classically good western. Unfortunately, Dunston (Wayne) loses his prospective in this die-or-lose-the-ranch campaign. Who’s strong enough to stop Dunston when he crosses the humanity line? Reluctant hero Matthew Garth steps in and stills Dunston’s atrocity. I’d say any character who could face down John Wayne is hero material for me. It was a great study of heroism for future characters.
The romance (always my favorite) was a bit corny, but true-to-heart and therefore, perfectly redeemable.
Red River was well worth my invested time. How much TV can we say that about these days?