Kevin added a new article:
All right, pilgrim, Hollywood may have been where Western movie icon John Wayne made his fame and fortune, but he clearly also left a mark – and perhaps a piece of his heart – in Arizona.
The bigger than life celluloid cowboy's love affair with our state dates back to 1930 and “The Big Trail,” which was filmed near Yuma. He starred in or directed in dozens of movies filmed in Arizona including the classics “Stagecoach (1939),” “Angel and the Badman (1947),” and “Red River (1948),” which was nominated for two Academy Awards and filmed in the tiny town of Elgin in Southern Arizona.
Cotton, Cattle and Cadillacs
But what many don't realize is that “The Duke” lived as he worked during his free time, spending time out on the range raising cattle and cotton and presumably enjoying another of the state's Five C's – climate – as he spent a lot of time here. In fact, State Highway 347 which runs through the town of Maricopa south of the Valley and Stanfield further south, for 28 miles also is known as John Wayne Parkway.
During the 1950s Wayne bought 4,000 acres in the area for about $4 million as an investment and contracted with a local broker to grow cotton. But Wayne was an actor and not a cotton farmer, so he soon partnered with his neighbor and successful farmer Louis Johnson, who worked Wayne's fields and earned The Duke a handsome profit for years.
Johnson's widow, Alice, once said that if her husband was able to produce four or more bales…