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The Searchers (1956)

The Searchers should have been called “Stereotypes on Parade.”  John Wayne is a lone gun who can’t accept that the Civil War is over and the South didn’t win.  He pays a visit to his brother (and his brother’s family) who are homesteading in Texas, and a Comanche war party burns the family house down, kills most of the family, and kidnaps the youngest daughter, Debbie.

John Wayne and his sidekick, Marty, then spend the next five years trekking all over the west, hunting down the Comanche, in hopes of rescuing Debbie.

The search went on forever.  John Wayne is John Wayne.  The film is dripping with stereotypes and mockery of Native Americans.  The homesteaders are witless and illiterate.  It was all just….boring.

I love a number of “modern” westerns– Dead Man, There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit all number amongst my most absolutely favorite films.  I just can’t get into the “classic” westerns.  They’re so often boring and predictable, and the acting is painful.

To be honest, I think this is the first John Wayne film I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I missed out on anything…there isn’t much more besides what you see in all the bad John Wayne impressions.

The westerns I still have left on the AFI Top 100 list are: High Noon, Unforgiven, and The Wild Bunch, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre (is that one technically a Western? I’m not sure…) WHY are there so many Westerns on this darn list? And why aren’t they the GOOD ones?

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