For the first "Throwback Thursday" it’s a surprise from my diverse movie collection, "McClintock" starring American Legend John Wayne and a very young Stephanie Powers.
Having been raised by a child of the 40s/50s Westerns were as force fed as science fiction but you really cannot deny John Wayne iconic status in pop culture history.
"The Duke" stars as George Washington McClintock, a former soldier turned successful rancher. He is so successful that the town he lives in is named after him.
He is a simple man with a few joys in life but as he grew in prominence his wife became interested in things that were in fashion.
He refuses to give his wife, Katherine a divorce. They’ve been separated the majority of the time their daughter has been in college. Most everyone calls her “Becky,” but as her mother has forsaken the name of “Katie,” for the more proper Katherine she refuses to allow anyone to call her anything but Rebecca in her presence.
Things start heating up as Katherine returns to try and convince Becky to return with her to the city rather than be “course” and “crude” from living in McClintock where she grew up. He refuses to force his daughter away and claims she’ll be a stronger woman if she stays with him.
There is still love between GW and Katherine but she’s so obsessed with her social status that even though she’s a grown woman with a grown daughter she acts out to get his attention. This is proved when she refuses to leave while he and his best friend, Jake, the owner of the general store stay up all night playing chess in his store. She joins him when he gathers riders to go out searching for a missing girl. They arrive in time to stop a group of settlers from hanging one of the chiefs of the Apache nation who is in town for a hearing.
A huge fight breaks out a little after the girl returns after a ride with a rancher’s son. Katherine refuses to let GW, Jake, and Drago fight the injustice alone. She pulls a hat pin from her crazy hat and uses it as a weapon. The old Indian chief tells McClintock, “Good party but no whisky, we go home.”
They are a little bewildered, especially Drago who wonders why she’s still being mean to GW even though she “fought like a hell cat” on his side and getting drenched in the clay pool ruining her fashionable clothes.
It’s a really cute show and John Wayne drops some great one liners that can withstand the times and numerous viewings even taking his daughter to task by allowing her to be spanked by the man who ultimately would become her fiancée. One of the best scenes is closer to the end when he chases her around the town after an Indian raid. He ends up spanking her too and says fine, you can have your divorce. Her embarrassment and irritation over being chased have naked (for the time but nunlike for the Miley/Kardashian times we live in) around the main part of town is over when she realizes she could lose him forever. She reacts like an honest to God country girl and chases her man down, jumping on the back of the wagon.
The movie is crazy good with a lot of misunderstandings and simple but longstanding rivalries between the city people and the ranch people, the ranch people and the farmer, and etc. It’s not long and drawn out without unnecessary cruelness and overzealous bigotry toward the Native American people. In fact, the only eyebrow raising scene was the lynching scene but was swiftly answered by GW’s cattle hands, the sheriff, and their friends not only rescue the Apache chief, but fight on his behalf too. This is a more fair portrayal of the Native Americans with issues against them being addressed in a historic way rather than a complete utter obliteration story like in most Westerns. While they were treated horribly in life, this movie shows that at least some people were willing to stand up for their rights.