The Searchers is about a family who is attacked by Native Americans. Most of the family is killed off by the Native Americans. However, the Native Americans do capture one of the family members who John Wayne and a half breed named Martin Pauley set out to rescue. Another guy goes with them, but he is quickly killed off. Then John Wayne and Martin spend five years tracking down the Native Americans who have captured the girl named Debbie. Along the way they get a tip from a crooked saloon manager who tries to kill them, but they get the better of him and kill him instead. They finally catch up to the Native Americans and have a final confrontation with them while Martin tries to save Debbie.
John Wayne does one of his best acting jobs in this movie. Some people do not think that John Wayne is that great of an actor. However, all you would have to do to change your mind is watch this movie to see how good of an actor John Wayne actually is. He plays a deeply psychological character who is as tough as they go but inside of his mind his hatred for Native Americans battles against his desire to save his family member.
There are some great action scenes in this movie such as when a search party sets out to get back the girls, but they are chased across a river and hold off the Native Americans who try to come after them. John Wayne then has a gun fight with three men who are trying to kill them. John Wayne and Martin finally find Debbie and John Wayne is actually about to kill Debbie, but some Native Americans show up, shoot John Wayne and chase them to a cave where John Wayne and Martin take cover and hold off the Native Americans. Martin tries to save Debbie from the Native Americans’ camp later on while the cavalry rides in to take care of the Native Americans.
Moses is an amusing character in this movie who is kind of crazy. Also, there is some amusing interaction between Ward Bond and a young cavalry officer who is a little too eager and a little too green with a sword for his own good.
One of the most suspenseful scenes ever in a movie is in The Searchers when the Native Americans are about to attack the family that John Wayne is related to. It’s red dusk, the sun is about to set and the family who is waiting for John Wayne to return with news about the Native Americans in the area hear animal cries coming from the distance. They barricade themselves into the house and try to have a little girl in their family named Debbie run away. The whole pacing, lighting and sparse dialogue of the scene all add to the incredible suspense for the Native American attack that is not actually shown so much as alluded to. The sign of a good movie, though, is that not everything always has to blatantly be shown.
John Wayne has another one of his darker roles in this movie along with Red River. He is kind of the hero in this movie because he is going after the Native Americans who are the villains that killed off most of his family and supposedly he is trying to save Debbie. However, his hatred for the Native Americans almost turns him into a villain himself, particularly when he is about to shoot his own relative because she has become part of the Native American group. Martin is weaker than John Wayne and greener or newer to fighting and braving the wilderness, but he is the voice of reason for John Wayne. He keeps John Wayne on the right track with his beliefs and makes sure that John Wayne does not kill Debbie by putting himself between them.
There are two notable women in this movie. One of them is a girl named Laurie who has a romantic relationship with Martin and waits for Martin to return for five years, but finally gives up after receiving only one letter and no words of interest from Martin, so she instead decides to marry a guy named Charlie. I guess you can’t blame her too much. Normally a woman doing something like with leaving a perfectly good guy for somebody else would annoy me, but five years is a long time for the girl to wait, poor dear. Also, she is attractive and I like her upbeat, fiery personality. She even pushes Martin over a bench one time, which is funny. The other woman is of course the woman who John Wayne and Martin are trying to save, Debbie. She is a little girl at the beginning of the movie but during the course of the movie she grows five years older and is not a little girl anymore by the time John Wayne and Martin reach her. The poor woman has been through quite a lot, but she seems to be O.K. at the end when she is finally reunited with John Wayne.
The villain in this movie who is a Native American named Scar and is responsible for the attack on John Wayne’s family and capture of Debbie is quite the intimidating villain. With a memorable name, stern face and powerful body, Scar is a force to be reckoned with. After searching for him for so long there is no anti climax. He truly is the powerful Native American his legacy makes him out to be.
The music for this movie is pretty good. There is a song called Ride Away in this movie, which I thought was pretty good. John Wayne and Martin travel all over the country to find Debbie. Sometimes they are in snowy areas and other times they are in the desert. However, no matter where they are it is always beautifully filmed. The locations are not as impressive as the actual camera work that shows those places.
This movie is one of the best westerns ever and probably John Wayne’s best movie and my personal favorite. It is a classic of the John Ford, western genre, and a good movie to end my list on as I go back to school. I will now be taking a break from movie lists for a while after these past three top ten lists with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Bond and John Wayne. However, I think some of you will be glad to know that I will going back more to my primary kind of writing again on my blog with music articles. Also, I will start making some TV show articles, which might interest some of you, although my writing will decrease in quantity a little bit due to the fact that I am now going back to college and will also be working on school work. Until the next time I hope you all have a good weekend.