is a 1976 Western
directed by Don Siegel and starring John Wayne
as the title character.
J.B. Books, a famous gunfighter of the Old West, has traveled to Carson City to see an old doctor friend (Jimmy Stewart
) about some health troubles. Said doctor tells him straight it's cancer and that Books has only weeks to live. Told to rest in town, Books makes his way to a widow's house (Lauren Bacall
) and under a false name rents out a room. The widow's son Gillom (Ron Howard
) quickly finds out Books's real identity and word quickly spreads that the gunfighter is in town. Soon enough, Books's old enemies come looking to settle scores and a local gambler is intrigued with the idea of making a name for himself as the Man Who Shot John Wayne
, uh J.B. Books...
The film was made at a time when two things were coming to an end: The traditional film Western and John Wayne's career. Wayne's age was catching up to him, fewer Westerns were being made, and the ones that were messed with
the traditional morality of the Westerns made in The Duke's heyday.
Note: The legend that Wayne was dying from cancer in real life
while this was being made is just that, legend; his cancer was in remission at the time. The truth was The Shootist
was his planned farewell to Westerns: he had hopes of starring in more films such as detective roles he started taking earlier in the decade. It was just that he suffered other illnesses that prevented him from making more movies, and it wasn't until three years later that the cancer came back to take The Duke at last
This film is associated with the following tropes: