YMMV: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Our need for heroes seem to outweigh our need for the truth.
    • And while Ransom achieved great things for his adopted state - getting statehood, representing in Congress, working as Governor, bringing the roads, schools and gardens to the desert as Peabody envisioned - it still all happened based on a lie.
  • Ho Yay: Valance's sidekick Floyd seems to toady up to Liberty a little too much...
  • Memetic Mutation: This film is the reason that any John Wayne impression will inevitably include the word "Pilgrim."
    • Also, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
  • Misaimed Fandom: The quote about "print the legend" is often seen by moviegoers and critics as Ford's defense of the "noble lie". However film historians note that this isn't Ford's intentions, since Ford in Liberty Valance showed the "making of the legend" and the consequences, lies and evasions that go into it and what it measn for Ransom to live that lie. As Peter Bogdanovich said, "Ford always printed the truth".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Liberty Valance enters the film with a nasty reputation and violent history, and gets worse as the movie progresses. It's his beating of Peabody to within an inch of the editor's life that riles up Ransom enough to get him to call the gunman out for a duel.
  • Tear Jerker: Poor Tom.
  • Vindicated by History: Contemporary critics treated Liberty Valance as, basically, just another John Wayne movie, though it did well at the box office. Over the years it's become recognized as one of Ford and Wayne's best films.