->''"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from."''
-->-- '''The Ringo Kid'''

''Stagecoach'' is a classic 1939 [[TheWestern Western]] directed by the legendary Creator/JohnFord, and notable as the StarMakingRole for Creator/JohnWayne.[[note]]''Film/TheBigTrail'' in 1930 was his first major role, but it bombed and he spent the decade making B-movies[[/note]]

The story involves a disparate group of travelers--a prostitute (Claire Trevor), an alcoholic doctor (veteran character actor Creator/ThomasMitchell), a pregnant army wife, a fugitive under arrest (Wayne), and others--who all wind up on the same stagecoach traveling from Tonto, Arizona Territory to Lordsburg, New Mexico Territory. Besides having their own secrets, burdens, and crimes to deal with, they have to worry about Geronimo and the Apaches, who are on the warpath.

John Wayne had previously appeared in some 80 "B" pictures; most studio executives were vehemently opposed to giving him top billing in a major film, but Ford (whose first ''sound'' Western this was to be) insisted on casting Wayne as the Ringo Kid. (Notably, the actor was paid far less than any of his co-stars except for Creator/JohnCarradine.) Ford, well known for abusing his cast and crew, reportedly brutalized Wayne to screw an effective performance out of him -- and succeeded. This film also marked the first time that Ford would shoot in [[SceneryPorn Monument Valley, Utah]], the site that would become his favorite setting and almost a trademark of his films.

The film was [[TheRemake remade]] in 1966 by director Gavin Douglas, with Alex Cord replacing Wayne as the Ringo Kid, Music/BingCrosby as Doc Boone, [[Film/TheLongestDay Red Buttons]] as Peacock, [[Series/TheGirlFromUNCLE Stephanie Powers]] as Mrs. Mallory, Mike Connors as Hatfield, Robert Cummings as Gatewood, Van Heflin as Curley, [[Film/DrStrangelove Slim]] [[Film/BlazingSaddles Pickens]] as Buck, and Ann-Margret as Dallas. Despite an improved script (the Gatewood subplot is particularly satisfyingly tied in to the Ringo plot, with [[Film/TheGreatRace Keenan]] [[WesternAnimation/SantaClausIsCominToTown Wynn]]'s delightfully nasty Luke Plummer being fatally hired by the defaulting banker) and a remarkably strong showing by Crosby, the film is killed dead by a leaden performance by Cord. Ultimately the most memorable aspects of this remake are the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arUlPqXDnE0 portraits done of the cast in-character]] by Creator/NormanRockwell.

The story was redone once more in 1986 as a MadeForTVMovie, starring Kris Kristofferson as the Ringo Kid, Music/WillieNelson as Doc (Holliday instead of Boone), Music/JohnnyCash as Curley, Music/WaylonJennings as Hatfield, and [[Series/TheDukesOfHazzard John Schneider]] as Buck.

Many decades later, two brothers who were fans of this movie would be inspired to write [[Film/PitchBlack their own "survivors escape from Hellish Wilderness" story, complete with a sympathetic criminal and a bounty hunter in place of a Marshal.]] The rest, as they say, [[Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick is History]].
!!''Stagecoach'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AdaptationDistillation: The movie draws inspiration from "Boule de Suif", a short story by Creator/GuyDeMaupassant. The story is a social critique of French passengers trying to flee a hot spot in the French-Prussian War, and where one of the passengers (a [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold jovial well-meaning prostitute]]) is forced to have sex with a Prussian officer to help the coach passengers escape. The movie changes the setting, removes the degradation of the prostitute, but leaves the social critique pretty much intact (with a karmic punishment for the crooked banker). A more direct source of the movie was "The Stage to Lordsburg" by Ernest Haycox, which had a "bare-bones plot". Ford merged it with de Maupassant's story to add more characterization.
* TheAlcoholic: Thomas Mitchell earned his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for being convincingly alcoholic as Doc Boone. By movie's end - having proved himself a good doctor - he's hinting at cutting back on the whiskey...
* BaitAndSwitchGunshot: Hatfield's gun touches Mrs. Mallory, gunshot is heard... and Hatfield's hand crawls back as he dies (then again, the gun didn't smoke or anything).
* BottomlessMagazines: Sort of. The passengers fire more times than they should be able to and then all run out of ammo at once.
* CallingShotGun: The film popularised it.
* CardGames: Used when Hatfield cuts the cards to decide whether to go on to Lordsburg, and again for {{Foreshadowing}} when Luke Plummer is dealt the "dead man's hand" while playing poker. Ford loves using the Aces and Eights to foreshadow doom.
* TheCavalry: Out chasing Apaches. They swoop in to save the stagecoach just before the Apaches kill them all.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Gatewood.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Doc Boone is a rambling, semi-comic drunkard for most of the film, until he has to sober up to deliver Mrs. Mallory's baby. Following this he takes a major role in defending the stage from Apaches and even stares down a dangerous gunfighter while completely unarmed.
* DeadMansHand: Luke holds this hand. He is shortly thereafter gunned down by the Ringo Kid.
* DramaticGunCock: Ringo pulls this off with a ''lever-action rifle''.
* TheDreaded: Geronimo.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Ringo's introduction.
* FakeOutOpening: Trailer example: The 1939 coming-attractions spot opens with....documentary footage of trains (a stretch for the Old West, but still believable) and airplanes! It makes no sense at all without the narrator's commentary: he's comparing the present (1930s) with the past, and actual footage from the movie doesn't show up in the trailer until the narrator says something along the lines of "What were things like back then?" (Weird, to be sure, but justified and even effective for a moviegoing audience who up to this point had probably never seen a Western movie, or at least one that was done so well.)
* TheGambler: Hatfield, who seems to do this for a living.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: They don't come nicer than Dallas. Apparently she was forced into prostitution after her parents died when she was a child.
* InjunCountry: The stagecoach enters Apache country and must ultimately flee from a swarm of angry Apaches giving chase.
* JerkAss: Gatewood is obnoxious to everyone.
* JustEatGilligan: Creator/JohnFord was once asked why, during the climactic chase scene, the Indians didn't just shoot the horses to stop the stagecoach? "Because the movie would have ended right there", he replied.
** Also the horses were probably the most valuable thing (to the Indians) on the stage. They didn't know about the stolen money and probably didn't know how many women were there. So if you kill the horses, all you get is the chance to rape and murder.
* MercyKill: When the Indians seem like they're about to overwhelm the stagecoach, Hatfield plans to use his last bullet to shoot Mrs. Mallory to save her a grisly fate. Fortunately, TheCavalry and a well-timed Indian bullet for Hatfield save her instead.
* MoralGuardians: The "Law and Order League", which seems to consist of a bunch of mean old ladies, kicks Dallas out of Tonto.
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Henry Gatewood is trying to abscond with his customers' money, but insists on preferential treatment.
* OneBulletLeft: Hatfield saves his last bullet to spare Mrs. Mallory "a fate worse than death". There's another woman on the coach but she's a prostitute so he doesn't seem to care. [[spoiler:He's just about to pull the trigger when he's shot and mortally wounded, sparing her. They are saved by the cavalry moments later]].
* PluckyComicRelief: Buck, the talkative, skittish coach driver played by Andy Devine.
* {{Revenge}}: The Kid's motivation to get to Lordsburg. The Plummers killed his father and brother.
* RunningGag: No one can seem to remember Mr. Peacock's name.
* TheSavageIndian: Local Navajo Indians were enlisted to play the part of the bloodthirsty Apaches.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Implied to be the reason for Doc Boone's drinking: he was an army medic during the Civl War.
* SlutShaming: Dallas is on the receiving end of this in both versions of the film, Ringo disagrees with this.
* SourPrudes: The "respectable" women who hate [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold Dallas]] and force her to leave town. Also Lucy Mallory to some extent, who is barely able to express any gratitude to Dallas for delivering her baby and taking care of her afterwards.
* SouthernGentleman: Hatfield. He's more gambler than gentleman, though.
* StandardSnippet: Par for the course in a John Ford movie, but probably used more here than in any other. By one count, the score uses seventeen folk and popular songs from the era, some as [[{{Leitmotif}} leitmotifs]], for instance ''I Dream of Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair'' for Mrs. Mallory.
* StealingFromTheTill: Henry Gatewood jumps on the stagecoach with $50,000 he's stolen from the bank. Apparently he's been at it a while, as he mentions that a bank examiner is coming to look at his books.
* TakeThat: Gatewood procalims that America should have a businessman for president. Herbert Hoover, a mining engineer turned Secretary of Commerce, had been the previous president. This was a deliberate dig by Creator/JohnFord.
* TheTropeKid: The Ringo Kid
* USMarshal: Wilcox, who is taking the Ringo Kid in.
* UnorthodoxReload: In his first scene, Ringo reloads a rifle this way.
* VehicleTitle
* TheWildWest