True Grit (1969)

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    Plot Summary
    The sudden death of her father sends a young tomboy of a girl,
    'Mattie Ross' (Kim Darby) on a mission to find justice, and the avenging of her father's death.
    She recruits a tough old marshal in the person of Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne),
    because he has "grit", and a reputation of getting the job done.
    Mattie accompanies Cogburn, and also a Texas Ranger ('La Boeuf' played by Glen Campell;
    who is looking for 'Tom Chaney' [Jeff Corey] for a separate murder in Texas) as the leave from Fort Smith,
    Arkansas into the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) to find her father's killer.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Marshall Reuben J. 'Rooster' Cogburn
    Glen Campbell .... La Boeuf
    Kim Darby .... Mattie Ross
    Jeremy Slate .... Emmett Quincy
    Robert Duvall .... Ned Pepper
    Dennis Hopper .... Moon
    Alfred Ryder .... Mr. Goudy (Defense attorney)
    Strother Martin .... Col. G. Stonehill
    Jeff Corey .... Tom Chaney
    Ron Soble .... Capt. Boots Finch
    John Fiedler .... Lawyer Daggett
    James Westerfield .... Judge Parker
    John Doucette .... Sheriff
    Donald Woods .... Barlow
    Edith Atwater .... Mrs. Floyd
    Carlos Rivas .... Dirty Bob
    Isabel Boniface .... Mrs. Bagby
    H.W. Gim .... Chen Lee
    John Pickard .... Frank Ross
    Elizabeth Harrower .... Mrs. Ross
    Ken Renard .... Yarnell
    Jay Ripley .... Harold Parmalee
    Kenneth Becker .... Farrell Parmalee
    Wilford Brimley .... (uncredited)
    Myron Healey .... Deputy at prisoner unloading (uncredited)
    James McEachin .... Judge Parker's bailiff (uncredited)
    Dennis McMullen .... Bailiff (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... Red (ferryman) (uncredited)
    Robin Morse .... Bit part (uncredited)
    Stuart Randall .... McAlester (uncredited)
    Connie Sawyer .... Talkative woman at hanging (uncredited)
    Jay Silverheels .... Condemned man at hanging (uncredited)
    Dean Smith .... (uncredited)
    Vince St. Cyr .... Gaspargoo (uncredited)
    Guy Wilkerson .... The hangman (uncredited)
    Hank Worden .... R. Ryan (undertaker, Fort Smith, Arkansas) (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Charles Portis (novel)
    Marguerite Roberts (screenplay)

    Original Music
    Elmer Bernstein (also title song)
    A.P. Carter (song "Wildwood Flower") (uncredited)
    Maud Irving (song "Wildwood Flower") (uncredited)
    J.P. Webster (song "Wildwood Flower") (uncredited)

    Non-Original Music
    John Newton (song "Amazing Grace")

    Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
    Polly Burson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Gary Combs .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bill Davis .... stunt double (uncredited)
    Quentin Dickey .... stunts (uncredited)
    Louie Elias .... stunts (uncredited)
    Fred Gerber .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bob Harris .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Monty Jordan .... stunt double (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
    Neil Summers .... stunts (uncredited)

    When submitted for a rating from the MPAA in 1969, the film was given an "M". The film was edited and re-rated "G".

    The only film for which John Wayne ever won an Oscar.

    Contrary to popular belief, John Wayne did not jump over the fence himself at the end of the movie. In fact, according to biographer Garry Wills in his book "John Wayne's America", Wayne was not healthy enough to do such stunts. It should be remembered that Wayne had an entire lung removed four years prior to making the film and actually had trouble walking more than thirty feet without breathing heavily.

    John Wayne had met singer Karen Carpenter fter judging The Carpenters on a college talent show ,he hosted prior to the shooting of this movie.
    Wayne was so impressed that he wanted Carpenter cast in the role of Mattie Ross.
    The producers went with Kim Darby, who had acting experience; however,
    Wayne did not like working with her, because he felt she was unprofessional on the set.

    John Wayne was disappointed by the casting of Kim Darby as Mattie Ross, and the two hardly spoke at all off camera. He later said, "Christ, talk about having no chemistry with your leading lady! She was the goddamn lousiest actress I ever worked with."
    John Wayne had initially promised the role of Mattie Ross to his daughter Aissa Wayne, but director Henry Hathaway refused to cast her.

    John Wayne had initially promised the role of Mattie Ross to his daughter Aissa Wayne, but director Henry Hathaway refused to cast her.

    John Wayne reportedly chased costar Dennis Hopper around Paramount with a loaded gun. Hopper had to hide in Glen Campbell's dressing room until Wayne cooled down.

    Mia Farrow, among other well-known actresses, was approached to play Mattie, but she turned it down. Robert Mitchum had told her that Henry Hathaway was impossible to work with. She later said it was one of the biggest professional mistakes of her career.

    Elvis Presley was considered for the role of La Boeuf, the Texas Ranger. However, his manager "Colonel" Tom Parker insisted that Presley should receive top billing, so the part was given to Glen Campbell instead.

    "Boeuf" means "Beef" in French.

    Marguerite Roberts was a formerly blacklisted writer. John Wayne knew this before he read the script. He read it and liked it. He ignored people who said he shouldn't work on anything that a "blacklisted" writer wrote.

    The gang's cave hideout (beds partially intact), snake pit, and various prop rocks can still be seen on private property outside Ouray, Colorado.

    Kim Darby's character was supposed to be 14.

    Finnish censorship certificate # 77983

    This is the (uncredited) film debut of Wilford Brimley.

    The scene near the end where Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) and Ned Pepper's gang meet in a field and Pepper (Robert Duvall) is shot was filmed in a clearing near the top of Owl Creek Pass outside Ridgway, CO. The field is off the road to the left and is very easy to find.

    Tuesday Weld turned down the role of Mattie.

    Chimney Peak is visible in the famous shootout scene at the end. It is part of the Cimarron Range outside Ridgway, CO.

    Rooster Cogburn wields a Winchester 1892 rifle with a looped lever and a Colt 1873 SAA revolver. Le Bouef carries a Sharps single-shot rifle. Mattie uses a Colt-Walker 1847 "Dragoon" revolver. Chaney uses a Henry rifle.

    Sally Field was also up for the part of Mattie Ross.

    Sondra Locke was considered for the role of Mattie Ross. She read the script but wanted to do avoid type-casting.

    Henry Hathaway later said he hated Glen Campbell's performance, which he described as wooden, and claimed the singer was only cast so he could have a hit with the theme song which would help promote the film.

    John Wayne's Best Actor Oscar win was widely seen as a sentimental choice, more in recognition of his forty year career. His performance in this movie was dismissed by many critics as over-the-top and hammy.

    John Wayne did not get along with Robert Duvall during filming, and at one point threatened to punch the young Method actor if he argued with the director again.

    The character of Rooster Cogburn was supposed to be around forty. John Wayne was 61 when the film was made.

    According to legendary stuntman Chuck Hayward in an interview just after John Wayne's death, Wayne did the jumping the fence stunt himself. Wayne rode Hayward's very famous stunt horse Twinkle Toes, which was used in many horse falling scenes in the fifties and sixties westerns and was getting quite old (like Wayne) when the jumping scene was done.

    John Wayne's stunt double Jim Burk performed the final jump at the end.

    Wayne's eye-patch is worn over his left eye, the same eye over which his long-time director John Ford wore his.

    John Wayne actively campaigned for the role of Rooster Cogburn after reading the novel.

    * Continuity: In the shootout between Rooster and Pepper's gang, the film reverses for a few seconds. Rooster's eye patch moves to the right eye, the bandanna switches sides, and his rifle and pistol change hands.

    * Continuity: When Mattie emerges from the river, she is already dry.

    * Anachronisms: Some of the paths Mattie, Rooster, and La Boeuf ride down have obviously been formed by automobile tires.

    * Miscellaneous: When Rooster hits La Boeuf with his rifle right after Mattie is captured, the rifle bends. It is obviously a rubber gun.

    * Continuity: La Boeuf puts the serving spoon back in the bowl and picks up his fork. The next shot shows him putting the serving spoon back in bowl and picking up a piece of chicken.

    * Continuity: The white markings on Little Blackie's legs and face change throughout the movie.

    * Continuity: When LaBoeuf and Rooster are discussing the venture at Chen Lee's, Mattie repeatedly changes position between shots.

    * Continuity: After La Boeuf succumbs to his head injury and falls off his horse, Rooster turns him over to look at his face. La Boeuf rolls over with his feet crossed. As Rooster and Mattie are riding off and look back at him, his feet are now splayed out.

    * Continuity: After he kills Frank Ross, Chaney kneels by the body to steal the money. Then Frank's head is on Chaney's left-hand side. In the next shot, Frank's head appears on the opposite side.

    * Continuity: When Mattie approaches the ferry pulling the horse, to join Cogburn and La Boeuf, her shadow indicates the sun position to the right. Subsequently, all of them are shown from behind, with their shadows indicating the sun position to the right again.

    * Continuity: When Rooster and Mattie are trying to get out of the snake hole, Rooster goes to pick up Mattie's father's gun. In that shot, his gun belt is suddenly missing.

    * Continuity: Near the end of the movie down in the snake pit, Rooster ties the rope around his waist, Mattie asks him to get her father's gun and when he turns to grab it, the rope is gone, when he turns back around to pick up Mattie, the rope is back around his waist

    * Anachronisms: Although the date on Frank Ross's grave indicates he died in 1882, the rifle Cogburn carries is a Winchester Model 1892 saddle carbine.

    * Continuity: During the hanging scene, the song "Amazing Grace" is being sung. The scene switches to some kids on swings, and the line "How sweet the sound" is sung in the middle of another verse, then the song goes back to the verse that was being sung.

    * Continuity: After Mattie rides her horse across the river, when Rooster and Le Boeuf won't let her on the ferry, her clothes are perfectly dry.

    * Anachronisms: Kim Darby's hairstyle is from the 1960s.

    * Errors in geography: When the characters in in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and after they ride into Indian territory, there are many shots of rocky peaks and snow-covered mountains. There are no such mountains within several hours' automobile drive of Fort Smith, and especially not west of the city; the Boston Mountains north of town, which are basically the foothills of the Ozarks, are green, tree-covered mountains.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Rooster mentions that he lived for some years in Cairo, Illinois, but he mispronounces the name of the town. The local pronunciation is KAY-row.

    * Factual errors: After testifying before Judge Parker, Rooster picked up his gun and belt from the bench outside the courtroom. There were still several other gun belts remaining on the bench, clearly showing that anyone wishing to enter the courtroom must first check their firearm. However, when Mattie follows Rooster out of the courtroom, she is holding the white sack out in front of her, which anyone could see contained a gun. Under the rules of Judge Parker's court, Mattie should have also been required to check her firearm.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Mattie Ross' gun is a Colt Walker, not a Colt Dragoon as stated by Rooster.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Bishop, California, USA
    Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway - 1193 Fremont County Road 3A, Canon City, Colorado, USA
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Durango, Mexico
    Gunnison, Colorado, USA
    Mammoth Lakes, California, USA
    Montrose, Colorado, USA
    Ouray, Colorado, USA (Courthouse)
    Owl Creek Pass, Ridgeway, Colorado, USA
    Ridgway, Colorado, USA
    Sherwin Summit, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

    Watch this Clip

    True Grit locations, then & now

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 10 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • True Grit is a 1969 American western film written by Marguerite Roberts
    and directed by Henry Hathaway.
    The picture is the first adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel True Grit.
    John Wayne stars as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn
    and won his only Academy Award for his performance in this film.
    Wayne reprised his role as Cogburn in the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn.
    The supporting cast features Glen Campbell, Kim Darby,
    Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper
    and Strother Martin.

    It's a great film, and difficult to critisize Duke's acting, in a role,
    that won him, his only Oscar!
    I suppose like most Duke fans, the role of Kim Darby,
    as Mattie,is maybe the only thing that let's the film down.
    She is clearly out of her depth, and it'sa pity, that either
    Karen Carpenter, Mia Farrow, or Tuesday Weld,
    didn't take up the offer.
    They surely could not have been any worse!!

    Elvis Presley, instead of Glen,
    now that would have been interesting!

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • What can you say a superb movie and a great role for John Wayne and he knew it.

    Considering the inexperience of Campbell and Darby they performed as well as could be expected.

    I always thought it funny that Strother Martin turned up in both movies yet there was no connection between his roles

    True Grit as Col Stonehill

    Rooster Cogburn as Shanghai McCoy (the owner of the raft)

  • Memorable Quotes

    Thjere are so many for this film, I have included a few famous ones, and you can follow the link, for many, many more:-

    [last lines]
    Mattie Ross: Trust you to buy another tall horse.
    Rooster Cogburn: Yeah. He's not as game as Beau, but Stonehill says he can jump a four rail fence.
    Mattie Ross: You are too old and fat to be jumping horses.
    Rooster Cogburn: Well, come see a fat old man some time!
    [jumps the fence and rides away]

    Rooster Cogburn: Why, by God, girl, that's a Colt's Dragoon! You're no bigger than a corn nubbin, what're you doing with all this pistol?
    Mattie Ross: It belonged to my father, he carried it bravely in the war, and I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it if the law fails to do so.
    Rooster Cogburn: Well, this'll sure get the job done if you can find a fence post to rest it on while you take aim.

    [Rooster confronts the four outlaws across the field]
    Ned Pepper: What's your intention? Do you think one on four is a dogfall?
    Rooster Cogburn: I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?
    Ned Pepper: I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.
    Rooster Cogburn: Fill your hands, you son of a bitch.

    These were just a few, for even more, please click on this link:-

    More Memorable Quotes


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Hi,
    I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
    looking for previous discussion, relating to the movies.
    I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
    so that they are now under one forum:-

    Comparing this movie, with ROOSTER COGBURN and The Lady
    If you are interested, please click on the link:-


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • I especially like the character Rooster Cogburn, so I enjoy this movie and Rooster Cogburn very much.

    Otherwise, not much else can be said about this great movie that hasn't already been said.

    Deep Discount carries this movie for under $8, as well as part of at least two collections. They also offer one movie poster.

    Amazon seems to have all the Paramount releases, and True Grit is one of them. They also offer this book, which would be a fun addition to the collection of JW "stuff" that one might have :D .

    Chester :newyear:

  • Can anyone tell me the exact location of the area where the two guys where smoked out of the hut by Rooster? It was by a small river with beautiful mountains behind. That spot is what I am looking for. I know True Grit was filmed in and around Ridgeway, CO. Thanks...

  • Hello All
    Welcome aboard Smitty, I agree that was a nice piece of geography however I can't help you with location. murray

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • I believe it is in Calif.
    I've seen it in other movies. ( G. Peck , J. Colins movie ???)
    The water is from a warm water spring .


    SASS 39065 Life
    BOLD 114

  • According to IMDb, the following were used as filming locations in True Grit -

    Bishop, California, USA

    Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway - 1193 Fremont County Road 3A, Canon City, Colorado, USA

    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA

    Durango, Mexico

    Gunnison, Colorado, USA

    Mammoth Lakes, California, USA

    Montrose, Colorado, USA

    Ouray, Colorado, USA

    Owl Creek Pass, Ridgeway, Colorado, USA

    Ridgway, Colorado, USA

    Sherwin Summit, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

    I have to say that I honestly don't know which one was the site for the scene you mentioned, but it's a start. :rolleyes:

    Chester :newyear:

  • As big a fans as my family and I are of True Grit, being Okies, we always get a laugh out of the aspens and tall mountains in the scenery.

    I don't understand why they didn't use locations more accurate to our geography here.


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Tbone@Jun 26 2006, 09:49 AM
    As big a fans as my family and I are of True Grit, being Okies, we always get a laugh out of the aspens and tall mountains in the scenery.
    I don't understand why they didn't use locations more accurate to our geography here.


    That's always been a hoot to my mind! Beautiful scenery aided by excellent photography, though.
    Cheers - Jay :D

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • Howdy All,
    I did a little bit of research, and that particular scene was filmed at Mammoth Lakes, California. Hope this helps.
    Colorado Bob

    "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them" It may be time worn, but it's the best life-creed I know.

  • Hello All

    Further to the cabin scene from True Grit featuring in Nevada Smith at a different angle it has also appeared earlier in the cabin scenes for North To Alaska with Fabian and Stewart Granger.

    All these films were directed by Henry Hathaway so I guess he liked the location.


  • John Ford did the same in "Fort Apache" by doing the Film in Monument Valley, when the Real Fort Apache is in Very High Wooded Country that goes up as High as 12,000 Ft. :fear2: in the White Mountains 200 Miles South of Monument Valley. :D

    John Ford used Monument Valley because He wanted the Wide Open Look for the Horse Soldiers to go across on the long shots, and get the look that He wanted! :rolleyes:

    Chilibill :cowboy:

  • I didn't care for Campbell and Darby, both of whom I found grating, but True Grit's last act is thrilling. The pace quickens, the physical action comes to life, and Hathaway's direction is engaged. I don't see it as a great Western, but the pay-off is satisfying, the locations are seasonally sparkling, and the film is historically notable for giving Wayne his only Oscar.

  • Hi all,
    I watched this movie again yesterday and enjoyed it. But the most thrilling was that one of my friends (who is member of this Board too, but not participating much) send me his memories about seeing this film in the theater:

    I can still remember being nine years old and my parents taking us to the theater to see this movie. One scene I remember vividly from that first experience has been cut out of the movie. It's a little a grim, but remember when Duke is rushing the snake-bitten Mattie to the doctor? They mount Mattie's small horse and Duke drives the horse hard. In the original cut of the movie, as the horse begins to tire, Rooster takes a knife and slices a cut into the horse's flank, and then takes chewing tobacco from his mouth and rubs into the wound in an effort to spur on the poor horse more. As I saw the movie in later years, that scene was never shown, not even when released onto video tape.

    It is interesting is anybody here remember this cut. I haven't this episode neither on VHS, neither on DVD.

    Senta :rolleyes:

  • Hi Vera,

    I must admit, I was unaware of this piece.
    Robbie would be interested to hear of this,
    Perhaps you would be good enough
    to also post your, post here

    Missing Footage and Deleted Scenes

    Perhaps they thoug that scene, too much, their targeted audience,
    I don't know!"!

    Best Wishes
    London- England