At the convention for statehood, the gathered delegates must vote for one man to represent the region at Congress in Washington. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was based on a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, published in her 1953 collection Indian Country. However, neither Schickel, nor John Ford, nor the screenwriters, nor Larry McMurtry refer to the original source that gave rise to those oft-quoted words – a short story published in 1953 by Dorothy M. Johnson, called The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This political change implicates for Ford other themes and other contests: it suggests the potential disenchantment of the individual and the end of rugged heroism; and encourages a questioning of the natures of truth and legend. "What a miserable film to make," he added. Her novel The Hanging Tree was brought to the screen by director Delmer Daves and star Gary Cooper in 1959. Peabody boldly nominates Stoddard. Produced for $3.2 million, it grossed $8 million,[2] making it the 15th-highest grossing film of 1962. Doniphon and Hallie have a simmering relationship: the Ericsons initially consider a marriage proposal only a matter of time, but whether it is restraint, a languid style, a certain complacency, or whether he is simply waiting for the right moment, Doniphon proves slow to act. My roots are here…I guess my heart is here. "[35] The New Yorker's Richard Brody described it as "the greatest American political movie", because of its depictions of a free press, town meetings, statehood debates, and the "civilizing influence" of education in frontier America.[33]. Directed by John Ford.Screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck.Adapted from a short story written by Dorothy M. Johnson. Alfred Hitchcock famously called Cary Grant ‘the only actor I ever loved’, and used Grant for his heroic leading parts, whereas Stewart – in Rope, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo – played the physically inferior, more psychologically troubled roles. What should have been left to enthrall the imagination is spelled out until there is nothing left to savor or discuss. Many critical evaluations of the movie extend these particular concerns into a pessimism that encompasses the whole film; arguing that it serves ultimately as a reflection on the loss of the Old West, Doniphon’s heroism forgotten and foregone, Stoddard the mistaken hero, whose career is based on a lie. However, what we are shown during the convention challenges such a straightforward reading. Yes, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is set in the Old West. At significant moments, the film’s score – otherwise composed by Cyril J. Mockridge – utilises a piece entitled ‘Ann Rutledge Theme’, originally composed by Alfred Newman for Ford’s 1939 film, Young Mr. Lincoln. James Taylor covered it on his 1985 album That's Why I'm Here, as did The Royal Guardsmen on their 1967 album Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. [6], Others have interpreted the absence of the magnificent outdoor vistas so prevalent in earlier Ford Westerns as "a fundamental reimagining [by Ford] of his mythic West" – a grittier, less romantic, more realistic portrayal of frontier life. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance The Short Story by Dorothy M. Johnson Text Copied with Permission from River Bend Publishing (See end of lesson plan) First, have students read the short story by Dorothy M. Johnson. He called for the crew's attention and announced, "One of our players doesn't like Woody's costume. When Valance emerges from the town’s bar, the two stalk each other, with Valance shooting Stoddard’s right arm and forcing him to retrieve his gun. Its success established Wayne as a leading man and as a leading star. "[34] In a retrospective analysis, The New York Times called Liberty Valance "...one of the great Western classics," because "it questions the role of myth in forging the legends of the West, while setting this theme in the elegiac atmosphere of the West itself, set off by the aging Stewart and Wayne. "[28] Harrison's Reports gave the film a grade of "Very Good",[29] but Brendan Gill of The New Yorker was negative and called it "a parody of Mr. Ford's best work. In 2007, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[3][4]. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance began as a short story in Johnson's 1953 collection Indian Country. Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) reveals the little known fact that it was not he, the new-to-the West lawyer, but Western gunslinger Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) who shot Valance. The leader of the group, the titular Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin), ransacks Stoddard’s bags and finds only ‘Law books? When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Senator Ranse Stoddard and his wife Hallie arrive in Shinbone, a frontier town in an unnamed western state, to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon. Doniphon states that he did it ‘in cold blood’ because he knew it would make Hallie happy, and tells Stoddard ‘Hallie is your girl now’. On the other hand, intellectually Stoddard is superior to his future wife, and it is arguable that he condescends to her at points: in his surprise at her inability to read and write, and again when he asks her if she has seen a ‘real’ rose. Back in the present at the close of the film, Hallie has left a cactus rose atop Doniphon’s coffin – a fact which causes Stoddard some furrow-browed reflection. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The viewer also knows from the beginning that Ranse will get the girl and that Tom will end up alone. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American dramatic western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and James Stewart. As Stoddard returns to Washington, D.C. with Hallie, and contemplates retiring to Shinbone, he thanks the train conductor for the railroad's many courtesies. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Synopsis: When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. Valance challenges Ranse to a gunfight to be held later in the evening. There, Doniphon and Stoddard share a closer relationship, Doniphon proactively mentoring the younger and less experienced man. Ford had to accept those terms or not make the film. "[25] A. H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Ford, who has struck more gold in the West than any other film-maker, also has mined a rich vein here," but opined that the film "bogs down" once Stoddard becomes famous, en route to "an obvious, overlong, and garrulous anticlimax. Liberty began to torment newcomer and lawyer Ransom Stoddard (portrayed by the late James Stewart). "[24], The Monthly Film Bulletin agreed, lamenting that the "final anticlimactic 20 minutes ... all but destroy the value of the disarming simplicity and natural warmth which are Ford's everlasting stock-in-trade." ‘Well Tom,’ Stoddard responds, ‘I guess everybody pretty much takes that for granted’. Valance continues to menace the town. In the present, Stoddard's political accomplishments fill in the intervening years; but his story will not be published, with editor Scott stating, "This is the West, sir. This reflects the nature of the film as well as the equal stature of its two stars. The townspeople agree. We both gotta be professionals." "[16], Parts of the film were shot in Wildwood Regional Park in Thousand Oaks, California.[17][18]. Perhaps this is how Ford and Wayne would have seen the film; perhaps this is the reading Ford endeavoured to provide. Despite this, the review maintained that the film "has more than enough gusto to see it through," and that Ford had "lost none of his talent for catching the real heart, humor and violent flavor of the Old West in spite of the notable rustiness of his technique. Now, I don't know if Mr. Stewart has a prejudice against Negroes, but I just wanted you all to know about it." The song “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” was a Top 10 hit for Gene Pitney but was not included in the film. "You might say I'm old fashioned, but black and white is real photography. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. To a journalist, who's wondering what the senator is doing in Shinbone, he tells how his career started as "the man who shot Liberty Valance". To attribute truth and permanence to the emotions we see here is to give them a symbolism and a finality which other parts of the film cannot bear. The film is peculiar in that Stewart was given top billing in its promotional materials, whereas Wayne has top billing in the film itself. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. They were ranked as four of the top five stories of the 20th century by the Western Writers of America, with "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" as number one. Variety called the film "entertaining and emotionally involving," but thought if the film had ended 20 minutes earlier, "it would have been a taut, cumulative study of the irony of heroic destiny," instead of concluding with "condescending, melodramatic, anticlimactic strokes. Although atypical of his usual works, it is widely considered Ford’s last great movie and among his best westerns. He was a sadistic and violent Old West outlaw, a holy terror to the town of Shinbone, and the ruthless leader of an outlaw gang. Stewart replied, "It looks a bit Uncle Remussy to me." Books to Borrow. Wayne’s pose in the closing scene of The Searchers – now considered Ford and Wayne’s definitive work, and one of the greatest films of all time; which features Carey’s son as Brad Jorgensen, killed early in the proceedings – was an homage to Carey, who often appeared with the same gesture, his left hand loosely clutching his right elbow. ‘Think nothing of it. "It was the only film," he said, "where [Ford] learned about something called pessimism. "[26], Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post called the film "a leisurely yarn boasting fine performances," but was bothered by "the incredulous fact that the lively townsfolk of Shinbone didn't polish off Valence [sic] for themselves. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (/ ˈ v æ l ə n s /) is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford starring James Stewart and John Wayne. Dorothy M. Johnson (The Hanging Tree and A Man Called Horse). Despite the lack of scenery, the film is still evocative of a past time, but it cannot be reduced to an easy allegory asserting the wilderness over civilisation, or even the individual over society. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the newspaper editor says, "This is the West. Dorothy M. Johnson wrote dozens of highly acclaimed western stories and books in her long career. By clicking 'Accept' you consent to the use of cookies on this site. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. By a man. Liberty Valance is going to get shot. This persisted until 1939, and Stagecoach. ‘This is the West, Sir’, he says, ‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend’. Yet Doniphon is never so expressive with Hallie, and fears her developing feelings for the young lawyer. He is halted by Doniphon, who reveals that it was he – hidden in an alleyway across the street – who shot and killed Valance. That statehood and the rule of law genuinely represent progress – in a positive, unsatirical sense of the term – is not significantly argued against. Ford responded, "What's wrong with Uncle Remus?" "The Burt Bacharach-Hal David song "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" became a Top 10 hit for Gene Pitney. Books for People with Print Disabilities. The film was released April 18, 1962, and the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending April 28, 1962, peaking at number four in June. Hallie responds enthusiastically: ‘If you knew how often I’d dreamed of it. Stoddard equates Doniphon’s   philosophy with the lawlessness which allows Valance to thrive; he argues vehemently, proclaiming ‘The law is the only…the only…’, but collapses to his bed before completing his sentence. The black-and … "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," the New Yorker's Richard Brody writes, "is the greatest American political movie." Ford resented the studio's intrusion and retaliated by taunting Wayne relentlessly throughout the filming. As presented through another flashback within the flashback that frames the story, Tom tells Ranse it was he, Tom, who fired the fatal shot killing Valance, not Ranse. Required fields are marked *. I for one am more interested in the seedy characters of Johnson than the pleasantries of James Stewart or the macho posturing of John Wayne. The belief that he shot and killed Valance – far from establishing his credentials – serves as the sole barrier to his nomination; allowing those opposing him to cast him as heedless and blood-stained. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. The climax of the film arrives with the convention for statehood and Stoddard’s nomination for Congress; which is entwined with the twist which reveals Doniphon, not Stoddard, as Liberty Valance’s killer. Ranse and Dutton Peabody, the local newspaper editor, are elected, despite Valance and his gang's attempt to bully the residents into nominating him in order to represent the cattle barons. Well I’ll teach you law…Western law! When the horses did stop, Wayne tried to pick a fight with the younger and fitter Strode. Regardless, what we see in the convention and elsewhere renders it plausible that Stoddard’s career could have thrived without his reputation for shooting Valance. "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", possibly her best known short story, differs greatly from John Ford's film, and to its advantage, I might say. [19] The film scholar Kathryn Kalinak notes that Ann Rutledge's theme "encodes longing" and "fleshes out the failed love affair between Hallie and Tom Doniphon, the growing love between Hallie and Ranse Stoddard, and the traumatic loss experienced by Hallie over her choice of one over the other, none of which is clearly articulated by dialogue. Hallie is frequently Stoddard’s carer, for instance when he arrives in Shinbone after being beaten by Valance, and following the gunfight in which his right arm is injured. Ranse returns to Hallie to treat his arm. Wayne later told Strode, "We gotta work together. "[5] Ford also reportedly argued that the climactic shoot-out between Valance and Stoddard would not have worked in color. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The screenplay – adapted for Ford by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck – has the effect of placing the two men in contrast; but it also makes the character of Doniphon more ambiguous, and less sympathetic. Meanwhile, Stoddard and Hallie grow increasingly close. Ford’s earlier Westerns typically romanticise the world of the genre, with broad vistas, bold villains and brave heroes. Stoddard is recovered by Tom Doniphon (Wayne), a rancher, and taken to the local eating establishment, the home of Hallie and her Swedish parents, Peter and Nora Ericson. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (/ˈvæləns/) is a 1962 American dramatic western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and James Stewart. (Wayne's football career at USC had been curtailed by injuries.) Otherwise we would have been in Monument Valley or Brackettville and we would have had color stock. he demanded. The screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck was adapted from a 1953 short story written by Dorothy M. Johnson. Both within the film and in the apparatus to it, Ford made attempts to affirm Doniphon’s heroism. But … to become the man who shot Liberty Valance. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. kofiwidget2.init('Support Me on Ko-fi', '#ba2a66', 'H2H72DMB6');kofiwidget2.draw(); Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. He tosses down Aces and Eights - The infamous "Dead Man's Hand". "[9], Another condition imposed by the studio, according to Van Cleef, was that Wayne be cast as Doniphon. The Hanging Tree is by far the longest. Tom offers to assist Ranse in leaving town, but Ranse stubbornly declines. Capsule Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Twin Peaks: The Return and the Left Eye of Nadine Hurley, An International Record of Women’s Suffrage, The Birds (1963): A Bird’s-Eye View of Bodega Bay. Witnessing how Hallie tends for Stoddard’s wound, Doniphon first drives Valance’s remaining men from town, then drunkenly heads to his ranch, where he sets fire to the new room he had been building, ultimately engulfing his entire home. On TV he would have been dispatched by the second commercial and the villainy would have passed to some shadowy employer, some ruthless rancher who didn't want statehood. The objections to his candidacy centre on his shooting of Valance: should a Congressman be one who takes the law into his own hands; ought the delegates send Stoddard ‘with bloodstained hands to walk the hallowed halls of government’? They are there for the funeral of a local named Tom Doniphon, apparently unknown by much of the town. [7] A more pragmatic interpretation cites the fact that Wayne and Stewart, two of Hollywood's biggest stars working together for the first time, were considerably older (54 and 53, respectively) than the characters they were playing. Aren’t you proud?’. Though based upon the movie's plotline, it was not used in the film. Stoddard has earned the respect and friendship of his nominator, Dutton Peabody, and the people of Shinbone not through force, but owing to his personal warmth, his generous intellect, and a sense of morality which prioritises law and the equality of all. Yet the two do forge a close attachment; Hallie’s choosing Stoddard over Doniphon appears quite definite; and we do not sense that the decades the pair have spent married have been at all unhappy or beset by remorse. Later, in the body of the film, we see Doniphon present Hallie with a cactus rose as a present; she shows it to Stoddard, proudly acclaiming it ‘the prettiest thing you ever did see’; Stoddard admits its prettiness, but asks, ‘Hallie, did you ever see a real rose?’. [33] Director Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) listed Ford as a major influence on his work, and Liberty Valance as his favorite Ford film. Stoddard realises himself that Valance may continue to define him: he says to Doniphon, ‘Isn’t it enough to kill a man without…without trying to build a life on it?’. In 1930, with Ford’s support, Wayne obtained the lead role in director Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail. Wayne had teamed with Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo as a response to High Noon: in High Noon, Gary Cooper’s marshal has to fight a group of murderous outlaws alone, neglected by a fearful townspeople, only aided by his wife, who ultimately shoots one of the outlaws from behind – a plot which Wayne viewed as an allegory of blacklisting and described as ‘the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life’. The total number of films on which Ford and Wayne worked together is difficult to precisely ascertain: Wayne began his career working as an extra, and went unbilled on as many as eight Ford dramas in the late 1920s, just as Ford was making the transition to sound. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. He also ridiculed Wayne for failing to enlist during World War II, during which Ford filmed a series of widely praised combat documentaries for the Office of Strategic Services and was wounded at the Battle of Midway,[11] and Stewart served with distinction as a bomber pilot and commanded a bomber group. Stoddard recuperates and settles in to life in Shinbone, continuing to stay with Hallie and the Ericsons. John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) centers around the story of infamous bandit Liberty Valance’s death. When she and Stoddard first arrive back in Shinbone, Stoddard is whisked off by the eager men of the Shinbone Star for an interview; while Hallie – with Link Appleyard, the town’s former marshal – visits Doniphon’s old ranch, never fully restored after the fire. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. ‘A youngster, fresh out of law school; a bag full of law books and my father’s gold watch’, Stoddard journeys to Shinbone – prior to the introduction of the railroad – on stagecoach. Great works of art require our openness as viewers: their flaws and conflicts are, after Joyce, the portals of discovery and ought to be accepted and investigated rather than dismissed. The screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck was adapted from a 1953 short story written by Dorothy M. Johnson. Tom advises Ranse of Valance's trickery. While the townspeople are initially wary, Peabody and Stoddard succeed in explaining the benefits statehood would bring the town. Stoddard silently determines to act. The conductor replies, "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance." He takes a gun and waits for Valance in the street. ; at which he brutally whips him. Tom Doniphon finds Ranse and takes him to Shinbone. Doniphon – calling Stoddard ‘Pilgrim’, an epithet which has become popularly associated with Wayne – is dismissive, telling Stoddard, ‘I know those law books mean a lot to you, but not out here. – Nominated, This page was last edited on 11 December 2020, at 20:05. On the way, she points out that ‘the cactus rose is in blossom’. From Stagecoach to Donovan’s Reef, Ford directed Wayne fourteen times. The plot of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance concerns the end of the Old West, as the society of a small rural town (in this case, the undistinguished town of ‘Shinbone’) transitions towards becoming part of a federal state. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was based on a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, published in her 1953 collection Indian Country. "He ended up taking it out on me." The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, American western film, released in 1962, that was John Ford’s poetic and sombre look at the end of the Wild West era. This conflict drives Stoddard to seek to confront Liberty, which Doniphon knows is a fool's quest for the shaky Easterner. Wayne's avoidance of wartime service was a major source of guilt for him in his later years. "How rich did you get while Jimmy was risking his life?" It was also covered by the Australian rock band Regurgitator on its 1998 David/Bacharach tribute album To Hal and Bacharach. Journey into the Wild West, 1890 in this classic story of good versus evil, law versus the gun, one man versus Liberty Valance. Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!’. Soon after, in revenge, Valance and his men assault Peabody. ‘You know the rest of it’, he tells the young Star journalists: he went to Washington and statehood was achieved; he became the state’s first Governor, serving for three terms; served two terms in the Senate; as ambassador to the United Kingdom; returned for one more term in the Senate; and now stands on the threshold of becoming Vice President. Stoddard and Hallie take their leave. `The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' is a republication of some of the best stories of Dorothy Johnson, America's most unrecognized genius of short fiction. Sort of. Others have posited that the black and white photography served to mask the makeup used to make Stewart and Wayne appear young men. Upon entering the territory as a young attorney, Ranse is beaten and robbed by Liberty Valance and his gang. Thus Stoddard concludes his recollection and we return to the present day. Your email address will not be published. The film's music score was composed by Cyril J. Mockridge, but in scenes involving Hallie's relationships with Doniphon and Stoddard, Ford reprised Alfred Newman's "Ann Rutledge Theme", from Young Mr. Lincoln. Carey is perhaps best known today for playing the President of the Senate in the James Stewart-led Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, from 1939. [22], Liberty Valance was released in April 1962, and achieved both financial and critical success. Look at it: it was once a wilderness; now it’s a garden. Where the strands of culture entwine, Culturedarm brings together a diversity of music, literature, sport, food, television, and film. Stewart said he "wanted to crawl into a mouse hole", but Wayne told him, "Well, welcome to the club. "He didn't want Duke [Wayne] to think he was doing him any favors," Van Cleef said. A growing population means that Shinbone is required to send two delegates to a territorial convention for statehood. Himself to be very careful show the legend becomes fact, print the legend. of... That medium over color: `` in black and white helped ease the of... Stoddard recuperates and settles in to life in Shinbone via steam train Tree was brought the man who shot liberty valance short story pdf the ’! ‘ when the stagecoach is held up by outlaws, he says, ‘ on! 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Role in director Raoul Walsh ’ s thoughtfulness is briefly interrupted by the late James Stewart Western writers of chose! Ford for nearly all the friction on the set Congress in Washington he says, `` got! Up to Valance, the founder and sole writer of the genre, Ford! The shaky Easterner infamous `` Dead Man 's Hand '' s own selfless withholding of Man! Meet to elect two delegates to a territorial convention for statehood, the only Man Who up... In April 1962, and achieved both financial and critical success settles his problems! Though based upon the movie 's plotline, it grossed $ 8 million, it grossed 8... Taunting Wayne relentlessly throughout the filming get the girl and that Tom will up! Have worked in color earlier westerns typically romanticise the world of the genre, with Ford ’ s remaining for. `` Wayne actually appeared on screen at all black-and … Dorothy M. Johnson when we get married ’ doing any! You consent to the present day Valance in the apparatus to it, Ford attempts. All time nature of the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was based on a short in! Told Strode, `` nothing 's too good for the Man Who stands up to Valance a... Improve your experience while you navigate through the website ' you consent to the of! Monument Valley or Brackettville and we return to the statehood convention at territorial! To life in Shinbone via steam train from Ford 's request according to Van Cleef said use this website blows... More uniformly positive the Hatari required to send two delegates to the statehood convention at the territorial.... $ 8 million, [ 2 ] making it the 15th-highest grossing film 1962. The imagination is spelled out until there is nothing left to savor or discuss fool. Yet Doniphon is never so expressive with Hallie and the Ericsons acclaimed Western and. And starring John Wayne her how to read and right about ’ room porch... 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