Tasked with defending settlers in 1879 Texas from attacking Apaches, Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke (Wayne) has an already difficult job complicated when his undermanned regiment is joined by a new recruit in the form of Yorke’s underage son Jeff (Jarman Jr.), whom the Lt. Col. hasn’t seen in a year. Hot on Jeff’s heels is his mother, and Yorke’s wife, Kathleen (O’Hara), eager to retrieve her son, but neither he nor his father is willing to allow that to happen. Elsewhere, an Apache attack on their fort and another enlisted man being wanted for manslaughter further add to Yorke’s plight.
In the town of Shinbone, Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) and his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) have returned for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, a man who evidently meant a great deal to them. When asked by the local press, Ransom recounts a tale of his youth, which began when he arrived at Shinbone an idealistic young lawyer intent on bringing a sense of law and justice to the west, a quest intensified after he is assaulted by vicious bandit Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Continue reading →