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September 28, 2006

Stagecoach - 6

John Ford and John Wayne team up for the first time in this film. Wayne eventually appeared in 35 of Ford's films, including the excellent The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. There is barely a scene in this film that is not copied in all the great films to follow, Ford was very influential on many later filmmakers. This is a classic western film, where a group of strangers- outlaws, whores, misfits, the uppity easterners, and doctor- take a trip by stagecoach across Arizona. The trip is taken with great risk as the Apache Indians have been raiding coaches passing through. The army can only go so far with the group, and they travel the rest of the way, eventually having to fight off Indians and the army arrives to the rescue. In the mean time the class barriers start to crumble and a love interest develops. This film also features what I would call the origin of the phrase, "riding shotgun." In this case, the sheriff calls it and literally sits beside the driver with a shotgun and looks out for trouble. Worth seeing if you love westerns or the history of film, less so if you are looking for straight up entertainment- although it has that as well.

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