THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962)

   Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Lee Van Cleef, Woody Strode, Lee Marvin, John Ford (director)
   Jimmy Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, a young lawyer who has come to a rough town and is forced to humiliate himself by the outlaw Liberty Valance (Marvin). Ultimately, Stoddard must face Valance in a showdown in the street. There is no way the bookish lawyer from back East has a chance against the town’s terror. Miraculously, though, the young lawyer shoots the villain dead and becomes the town hero. He is even elected to Congress and serves the town well for many years. The actual story takes place long years after the shootout on the streets when the eminent congressman comes back to town for the funeral of an old gunfighter (Wayne) and learns what really happened on the street so long ago.
   The film is a textbook classic Western and one of John Ford’s best. Without the magnificent vistas of Monument Valley that are the trademark of many of Ford’s films, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a town Western, almost an urban Western. John Wayne takes a secondary role to Stewart. Years later the two teamed up again in Wayne’s last film, The Shootist (1976).
   See also TOWNS.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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