Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero

WAYNE AND FORD                                  NANCY SCHOENBERGER

For over twenty years John Ford and John Wayne were a blockbuster Hollywood team, turning out many of the finest Western films ever made. Ford, a son of Irish immigrants known for his black eye patch and for his hard-drinking, brawling masculinity, was renowned for both his craftsmanship and his brutality. John "Duke" Wayne was a mere stagehand and bit player in "B" Westerns, but he was strapping and incredibly handsome, and Ford saw his potential. In 1939 Ford made Wayne a star in Stagecoach, and from there the two men established a close, often turbulent relationship.
Their most productive years saw the release of one iconic film after another: Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. But by 1960, the bond of their friendship had frayed, and Wayne felt he could move beyond his mentor with his first solo project, The Alamo. Few of Wayne's following films would have the brilliance or the cachet of a John Ford Western but, taken collectively, the careers of these two men changed movie making in ways that endure to this day. Despite the decline of the Western in contemporary cinema, its cultural legacy, particularly the type of hero codified by Ford and Wayne--tough, self-reliant, and unafraid to fight but also honorable, trustworthy, and kind--resonates in everything from Star Wars to today's superhero franchises.
Drawing on previously untapped caches of letters and personal documents, Nancy Schoenberger dramatically narrates a complicated, poignant, and iconic friendship, and the lasting legacy of that friendship on American culture.


I really liked this book especially since I liked all of the westerns that they made together and The Quiet Man. What was extra about this story than others that I have read was the part about Ford and the way he really treated the people he worked with or worked for him. I was really surprised at the big named stars that put up with his abuse besides Wayne. Yes, the westerns were good but did he really need to go through all of the degrading that he did. The author takes you through the westerns that they made and the cast with some background on the different people in the cast. I found that all very interesting. Also takes you through their personal lives especially with Wayne’s three marriages with interviews with Pilar. What I also liked was the little tidbit about Wayne’s last movie the “Shootist” having Ron Howard toss the gun as far as he could thinking about his career and what happened to Bruce Dern not working for a while because of the idea of killing John Wayne. Overall I thought this to be a very good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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