This film is of the life Frank "Spig" Wead (John Wayne). Spig was born in 1895 and saw the rise of the airplane to be a functional instrument in the defense of this nation. He was Navy all the way and aviation was what he thought the Navy needed back in the 1920's. He was so Navy it cost him close personal relationships. Wead was married to Min (Maureen O'Hara)for many years when the accident happened. For years, the two along with their daughters traveled to many bases. It was one night when coming down the stairs he landed on his back. Unable to walk, Wead had to teach himself how to simply put one foot in front of the other. With the help of "Jughead" Carson (Dan Dailey) weed would try and try just to move one toe. When the momentous occasion took place it was walking that would be the next step. Wead would wear braces and use canes for the rest of life but what a life it was.
In between WWI and II Wead would write for John Dodge (Ward Bond) a director out of Hollywood. When WWII came along Wead was able to talk his way back into the Navy. It would be a heart attack that would finally bring him ashore.
The real director Wead worked for was John Ford. The courage and sheer determination on his part is what makes this movie. Wead was faced with challenges that most of us never even come close to but he was able to overcome and produce. Yes he was estranged from his wife for many years. He gave up much to be able to do what he did.
Director John Ford would say that he found this movie somewhat hard to do as it was so close to his heart. John Wayne gives a very memorable performance in the film. Probably one of his best but one of his most overlooked.
Frank " Spig" Wead would die in 1947. His legacy was immortalized in this film. His courage came from his love of Honor and Duty. Enjoy.