The granddaughter of Oscar-winner John Wayne is about to step into Fort Smith for the very first time.

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  • Members of the Friends of the Fort nonprofit will host a reception for Anita La Cava Swift at 4 p.m. July 13 at Darby Junior High School, 616 N. 14th St. The event will celebrate Swift’s time in Fort Smith and will include a screening of the 1969 John Wayne movie, “True Grit,” as well as a discussion on the film’s accuracy and influence on Fort Smith, said Floyd Robison, treasurer for the Friend of the Fort.

    “We are excited about this because this is in line with the 50th anniversary of the ‘True Grit’ film,” he said. “Anita Swift runs the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California and travels around the country, talking about her grandfather.

    “Anita says her grandfather’s favorite movie was ‘True Grit’ because he won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn,” Robison added.

    Swift is scheduled to “take the stage” at about 5 p.m. for a few minutes before the screening of “True Grit,” he said.

    “Anita will talk a little bit about the John Wayne Cancer organization, which does research, during the reception, and she’ll mostly talk about the movie, ‘True Grit,’ and her grandfather,” Robison said. “John Wayne never was able to come to Fort Smith, although he always wanted to come to Fort Smith. John Wayne always wanted to see Fort Smith because he won his only Oscar for ‘True Grit,’ a film and story that was set here in Fort Smith.”

    “Anita is the oldest grandchild of John Wayne; she was 21 when John Wayne died in 1979, so she knew her grandfather really well,” he said.

    Tickets for the reception for Swift are $30 per person and can be purchased by calling Robison at (479) 831-9274 and the Clayton House at (479) 783-3000, or by emailing Tickets also can be purchased at the Clayton House, 514 N. Sixth St.

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