Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

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    There are 21 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by dukefan1.

    • Did the duke do his own stunts or most of.
      Mister you better find yourself another line of work, cause this one sure DON"T fit your PISTOL!
    • Brick,

      I think the answer to that,
      is that Duke did as much as he could.
      However throughout his career,
      he had great stunt people to do the
      diificult and dangerous stunts.

      Below are the links to
      Duke's most famous stuntmen.


      Yakima Canutt
      Chuck Roberson
      Cliff Lyons
      Jerry Gatlin
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England
    • The simple answer to your question is yes and he was well respected because of it.

      Some of his best stunts include the following:

      1. Falling backwards over a table after being punched in Big Jake.
      2. On a horse jumping a four railed fence at the end of True Grit.
      3. Climbing on top of the Stagecoach when it was going at a high speed during the Indian attack in Stagecoach.
      4. Falling backwards through a door in the Sons of Katie Elder, even though he had only recently been through a major cancer operation.
      5. Falling backwards down a mud slide in Mclintock, as well as jumping into the cart with straw in it in that movie as well.

      I'm sure other members will contribute more as to some of there favourite John Wayne stunts, suffice to say he did quite a few.

      :agent:
      Regards
      Robbie
    • Howdy All,
      I can't remember the name of the film, but it was one of Duke's old 1930's films, where he rode a piece of wood down a water chute. At first I thought it was Yak, but when you look close, you can see it was Duke.
      Best,
      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.
    • I remember Yakima's story from the 30's: Duke came cantering fast down a steep slope; Yak had told him to slow a bit down just before the even ground, but for some reason he didn't, and the horse fell over. Nobody was hurt, but I think the spectacular fall is seen in the movie, I should check which one it was.
      I don't believe in surrenders.
    • Hi Colorado Bob,

      The movie where he rode the piece of wood down
      the strorm drain was

      Lawless Frontier


      Hi etsija

      Most probably, the one you mention is

      Randy Rides Alone

      the one where he fell of his horse,
      and looked for his hat! and then got back on again!!

      The mention of these two incidents can be
      seen by clicking on the links
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England
    • Some pretty dangerous stunts mentioned there in these earlier B movies. I remember one from a B movie in which Duke chases a bad guy out of a saloon jumps on a hitching posts and leapfrogs onto the bad guy, a very good stunt.

      He did his own stunts during the fire sequence in 'Circus World' and almost got killed when a beam collapsed and almost landed on him (this was captured and can be seen in the movie).

      A nice little stunt he did in 'She wore a Yellow Ribbon' was ridding a horse down a rockface in Monument Valley, it can be viewed prior to the scene when he enters the Indian camp to talk to 'Pony that walks'.

      :agent:
      Regards
      Robbie
    • Re: Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

      Some of the fight scene in Sons of Katie Elder-where the brothers are "getting aquainted" in Katie's house, was done by Chuck Roberson. The knock thru the door and when Michael Anderson is on his back. Duke and Chuck's hair are a bit different, and any scene shot from an angle where you don't see Duke's face-even if it only lasts a second or two, is usually Chuck. It only makes sense, after his recent operation, he would HAVE to be doubled in some more exhausting scenes. But Duke always made sure you could tell for sure when it was him doing it himself. It would be
      a shot, with no cuts, showing his face thru most of it. Heck I was surprised he did the short stunt of carrying Quincey's body to cover in True Grit. No mean feat for a guy with one lung. It was done in one shot-no cuts-and Duke was clearly seen.
    • Re: Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

      alamo221 wrote:

      Some of the fight scene in Sons of Katie Elder-where the brothers are "getting aquainted" in Katie's house, was done by Chuck Roberson. The knock thru the door and when Michael Anderson is on his back. Duke and Chuck's hair are a bit different, and any scene shot from an angle where you don't see Duke's face-even if it only lasts a second or two, is usually Chuck. It only makes sense, after his recent operation, he would HAVE to be doubled in some more exhausting scenes. But Duke always made sure you could tell for sure when it was him doing it himself. It would be
      a shot, with no cuts, showing his face thru most of it. Heck I was surprised he did the short stunt of carrying Quincey's body to cover in True Grit. No mean feat for a guy with one lung. It was done in one shot-no cuts-and Duke was clearly seen.


      Regarding that particular fight scene in "The Sons of Katie Elder," Duke did all of his own stunts.
      Regards
      Robbie
    • Re: Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

      Sorry, I stand by my comment. I'm sure Chuck was knocked thru the door , then a cut to Duke laying there. The part when Anderson jumps on Duke's back (and his character has his back to the camera), I'm sure is Chuck. You can usually see the difference in hair between Duke and Chuck (Chuck's head is a bit flatter, and hair is a bit curlier in back, plus on Duke you can usually make out the line between his toupee overlay and real hair). Plus the old addage-if you can't see the star's face, it's probably not him. Great scenes tho-

      The post was edited 1 time, last by alamo221 ().

    • Re: Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

      I was really surprised the first time I realised that it was Duke carrying Quincy. I think it was Duke who did the drunk fall off the horse too.

      He did an awful lot of his own riding in the Ford films, its usually him doing the galloping on flat ground and climbing up and down cliff scenes and they only use doubles for falls and really dangerous riding, galloping down dangerous terrain. Even galloping on flat ground and in those charge scenes took a really good rider, which Wayne was. He also had beautiful soft hands on the reins. You never see Dollar or Banner or Steel chucking their heads or roll their eyes because their rider yanked the bit to hard.

      Its Duke riding in the Indian raid in The Searchers but Chuck Roberson doubled in the galloping away from the Indians after they met Debbie, with Chuck Hayward doubling for Jeff Hunter. Incidently that is a scene where Chuck Roberson shoots "himself" . He is the Indian who fires the arrow that hits Ethan and then Roberson and his horse Cocaine do a massive fall down a sand slope.

      Roberson did the ride down the cliffs in Hondo, breaking his ankle when Cocaine did the fall in the gully. The fall is done in one take, Roberson and Cocaine go down and Duke who was hiding in the gully stands up.

      In the winter scenes in the Searchers, it is Terry Wilson substituting for Duke and in the beautiful yellow sunset scene it is Chuck Hayward. In the party scene where the stunt guys were doing the dancing, there is a lovely Ford moment where Chuck Roberson playing a ranger asks Ethan to have a drink , and then for no reason two of the dancers Chuck Hayward and Terry Wilson move into the group. It means Duke is surrounded by the 3 men who doubled him in the film, a nice little moment that not to many big stars would do.

      You can see it is clearly Chuck Roberson in a couple of the falls in McLintock in the fight in the general store. It is clearly Duke doing the gallop up the hill to the Indian hanging. Chuck Roberson is riding beside him.

      If you want to get an idea of what a good rider Roberson was, in the egg race in McLintock he turns around and mounts a plunging red horse and holds its still. The playing up horse is Cocaine, clearly looking forward to a gallop.

      Duke actually rides Cocaine in the Searchers. It shows what a good rider he was that he was allowed to get on Cocaine who was a pretty high strung horse. They must have decided it was better continuity to let Duke ride the stunt horse than switch horses as well as riders.

      It is Chuck Roberson who does the ride down the hill to the cave after Debbie but Duke sticking out the horse when it bucks as Martin tries to pull him off it.

      It is also Duke who rides at a gallop across the river when the Indians chase them. If you want to know how dangerous that river was watch one of the stuntmen and horses nearly get swept away in the Indian scenes. In the scene used in the film Ward Bond;s horse comes down with him and Jeffrey Hunter stops to help him, one of Ford's famous acident moments, not a stunt. There is an outtake in the documentary on the Searchers there is another shot of that river crossing where Wayne is riding at the back of the group and his horse goes down in the water and comes up with Wayne hanging halfway across the saddle as it plunges to get to its feet. Soaking wet and hanging off the horse he stays in character still shooting at the Indians.

      According to Chuck Roberson in his wonderful book The Fall Guy the stunt thta nearly injured Wayne badly he was not even doing. He was standing behind the camera when someone miscued a horse fall and they slide right into him with Wayne ending up under the horse. Ford nearly had an apoplectic fit apparently.

      The bucking horse in Hondo is Cocaine, blaze dyed out, with Chuck Roberson on him, with Duke getting on to do the close ups.

      In Angel and the Badman, Yakima Canutt does the first scenes, the jump and the running horse that falls, using Wayne's horse Banner, the only time you see Banner do a stunt fall but it is Duke who does the galloping in the cattle chase scene and alot of the buckboeard driving.

      I think Gail Russell may have driven the horses up at a gallop in the scene where Quirt sees her for the forst time. The angle make sit pretty hard to hide a driver and extra set of reins under the seat.

      In Stagecoach, Yakima Canuut did all the famous jumps onto the team of six but Duke did get on the lead horse and gallop it (bareback no stirrups) for the close up and jump off as it was pulled up from a gallop. He also, only at a trot, in the Western street drives the six up team which is probably the hardest thing to do of all the horse stunts in movies. Andy Devine was beside him ready to grab the reins if something went wrong but I cannot think of another western where you clearly see the star driving six horses even at a walk. They always cut from closeup to very long shot.

      By the way the answer to why Duke always rode big red whitefaced horses was because it was easier to get a match for Cocaine than keep dying Cocaine. And as an aside whenever you see in a western movie or TV show the hero or villian on a whitefaced red horse you know a horse fall is coming up. The three best falling horses in Hollywood were Hank Williams Coco, CHuck Roberson's Cocaine and Chuck Hatward's Twinkle Toes and all were red horses with white faces.

      And another aside, Twinkle Toes who would have been about 20 at the time was the horse that Duke rode to jump the fence in True Grit, and Cocaine was well over 25 when Chuck Roberson jumped him through the glass window in Chisum.
    • Re: Did The Duke Do His Own Stunts?

      I would like to make a correction of a mistake that I see is made quite often. Dukes horse was named Dollor not Dollar. It's a derivative of a Spanish word for sorrow.
      ''baby sister i was born game and intend to go out that way.''

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