Big Jake (1971)

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  • I watched this movie for the first time tonight, I thought it was a good film, although a couple of changes could have been made, Duke seemed very relaxed in this movie, if that makes sense.

    The youngest member of the JWMB! And proud Cowgirl!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Bek@Mar 17 2006, 07:32 AM
    I watched this movie for the first time tonight, I thought it was a good film, although a couple of changes could have been made, Duke seemed very relaxed in this movie, if that makes sense.


    Hi Bek, I grew up watching this movie over-and-over again. I never tire of it. I think The Duke had a great time making this film as many of the people he worked with were vets of his movies and he knew that they knew what he wanted.

    Some of my favorite lines from this movie:

    1) Man trying to hang the Sheepherder: "Mister, you shouldn't stick your nose into others really shouldn't. If it's one thing that I like hanging a sheepherder it's hanging someone who sticks his nose into my business." Big Jake: "No you got me scared......(throws pocket-knife which sticks in the tree trunk) you do it."

    2) "He fired his six shots its safe to come out."

    3) "Now you understand....Anything goes wrong....anything at all, your fault my fault nobody's fault....IM going to blow your head off. It's just as simple as that, no matter what happens no matter who gets killed, IM going to blow your head off."

    To quote just a few. :D

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • This movie was one of John Wayne's most financially successful of the 1970's. I can't help but sometimes think of what the movie would have been like with a better director such as Rydell or Siegel. I also believe it was a mistake to cut out the scenes of Maureen O'hara at the end of the movie as her role is meerly an extended cameo.



  • Maureen O Hara in her book thought it had the potential to be a great film and that through bad editing they made a mess of it.

    Now, how much of her gripes were caused by her role being the most edited is up for debate but she did come out of retirement to make the film so the property must have been strong enough initially to let her make that decision.

    As Robbie, has said before a better director, tighter script with less comedy and a stronger cast would have enhanced the movie.

  • Mike

    Interesting point Mike, I wonder how much was actually edited from the movie, is the original script for the movie available to read?



  • I really think this is Duke at his accumalative best. I actually like all of the other cast members and enjoyed the lighter moments. This is the first of Duke's pictures that I ever remember watching, so maybe I'm not being very objective. As far as Duke goes, I believe it is one of his smoothest performances, you could just feel he was on top of his game. Not enough scenes with Richard Boone or Maureen although I feel the scenes he had with her was an extension of McClintock. Overall, my favorite Duke movie.

  • We have watched Big Jake probably 20 times, and we still have a tough time accounting for the death of all the outlaws. There were nine men at the beginning, one killed during the rampage at the McCandles ranch...leaving eight. Then as we counted them off at the end, it seems like there should be one left. But then maybe the goof mentioned on page one of this thread explains it, in that only seven rode away from the McCandles ranch, though only one was killed. Is it possible that someone else was killed and they cut the scene? Anybody know which character introduced at the beginning is the one that went missing? Next time I watch it, I am gonna write it all down, and check them off as they go.


    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.

  • I went back and tried to do some more research on my question about the death of the outlaws...there were nine at the start of the raid of the McCandles ranch...

    John Fain - Michael shot him at the end of the film
    Will Fain - Jake shot him at the start of the big shootout
    "Pop" Dawson - James shot him standing in a doorway during shootout
    John Goodfellow - Jake got him with a pitchfork at the end of the big shootout
    Trooper - Sam shot him from atop a wall during big shootout
    "Kid" Duffy - Michael shot him off the bell-tower
    O'Brien - James shot him off a rock during big shootout
    Billy Devries - Shot during the opening raid on the McCandles ranch
    Walt Devries - ?? The mystery bandit...whatever happened to him?

    As was said earlier, only 7 are shown to leave the McCandles ranch, and I have yet to try and count them later in the film. I will have to watch closer next time...unless someone else can solve this mystery.


    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.

  • Hi GSP

    Jakes young son who gets badly injured at the start of the movie is the man who shoots Walt Devries, its young Billy whom we are unsure about what happened.

    I think the two Devries brothers should have been kept alive until the final shootout as it would have made it a little more interesting.



  • Robbie,

    Thanks for straightening me out on the Devries. Maybe Billy left the bandits because he was too embarrassed that his brother was taken out by Bobby Vinton.

    Seriously, I wonder if maybe the answer to all this, is both the Devries were killed at the McCandles ranch, and they cut the scene of Billy Devries getting taken out. That would explain why only seven were shown riding away. I don't recall ever seeing Devries the rest of the movie.


    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.

  • This is/was also one of my very least liked John Wayne films, but that is only really due to the fact that the Dog is killed. Anytime a movie has a dog murdered I hate it. Anyhoo my one useless comment is that this film reminds of Spaghetti westerns... and that I call American Spaghetti...

  • Yes if I was a dog I would reconsider my contract working with John Wayne.

    Between Hondo Big Jake & The Searchers they dont have a much luck living to the last reel

    Always wondered was it related to the dog in Hondo who was apparently one of the many Lassie's

    Anyway ,Big Jake despite it uneveness is not a bad movie. Not a classic but an improvement on other like Train Robbers and The Undefeated.


  • Gregg Palmer will be one of the guests at the celebration in Winterset... for those of you not familiar with him, he is the guy that used the machette as a weapon. That's the only part of the movie I hated, the suggestion he hacked the dog to pieces. The wife won't watch it for that reason.

  • Yes poor Gregg is like Lassie he doesnt make good odds of making it to the last reel either.

    He was shot in Commancheros Bouvier (opponent in duel) uncredited.

    Gregg survived in The Undefeated as the horse agent but died in Rio Lobo shot in the stomach throwing his dynamite, shot by Billy the Kid in Chisum and again by Duke in Big Jake.

    I notice he is listed as being in The Shootist but cant remember seeing him and also featured in the True Grit TV movie with Warren Oates


  • You absolutely can't miss him in The Shootist... he is listed as "Burly Man" or for you and I he was the guy that tried to rob JB Books in the very first scene and Books gut shot him.

  • Thanks Dakota

    My mind has gone to goo!!!:stunned: Of Course. He is in The Mc Kenzie Break with Brian Keith and if you dont look for him you would never identify him.

    So out of six outings 5 deaths and 1 survival mind you I think he gets hit in The Undefeated.

    Ask him, if he would preferred a role in a John Wayne movie that survived at the end!