The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance is about a man who travels west to be a lawyer and bring order to an area that is just becoming a state. However, he encounters a man named Liberty Vallance during a stage coach ride to a town. The man tries to bring order to the town despite having two different gun slingers go up against each other. One of the gun slingers is the good John Wayne and the other gun slinger is the bad Liberty Vallance. They are getting ready to kill each other, but the lawyer played by Jimmy Stewart insists that there is a better way to resolve their differences than with violence. Liberty Vallance is killed off and Jimmy Stewart becomes a delegate for killing Vallance, but who really killed Valance is not as clear as it might seem.
The acting for this movie is great. All three of the men who are main characters and fighting for something different are played well by John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin. John Wayne is the good gun slinger, Jimmy Stewart is the peaceful law man and Lee Marvin is the bad gun slinger named Liberty Vallance.
There is not a lot of action in this movie for it being a John Wayne western. It has the least amount of action out of any of the John Wayne movies on my top ten list. However, the story, characters and action are what make this movie great. There is some action. For a while Liberty Vallance beats people up and tears things apart until he finally gets his comeuppance. He is supposedly shot by Jimmy Stewart, but we later find out that it might have been somebody different.
The inept sheriff in this movie is pretty funny. He chickens out of doing anything productive to take care of the trouble makers such as Vallance. It is clear that despite him being the sheriff he is not respected by a whole lot of people due to his apparent reluctance to do anything important and dangerous. He also has a large tab at a restaurant. The newspaper man in this movie is also amusing.
There is a good amount of suspense in this movie when Vallance beats up the newspaperman who writes a bad story about him being “defeeted”, spelled with two e’s. Jimmy Stewart then decides to face Vallance in a gun fight. There is a lot of suspense when Jimmy Stewart goes to face Vallance.
The two heroes in this movie are the law man, Jimmy Stewart, and the good gun slinger, John Wayne. Jimmy Stewart is the peaceful, intelligent hero in this movie who has the most morals and actually ends up with the woman. Usually, women will go for the strong guy in movies such as James Bond, but the woman in this movie is interesting because instead of going for John Wayne she actually ends up liking Jimmy Stewart because he teaches her how to read. John Wayne is the strong guy in this movie, but he ends up a mess at the end of this movie.
The woman in this movie is very pretty. She works at a restaurant and does not know how to read, but Jimmy Stewart decides to give her some education. There are two men both fighting for her attentions. One of them is the strong John Wayne and the other one is the intelligent Jimmy Stewart. This woman is actually more interested in the intelligent Jimmy Stewart than the strong John Wayne, probably because Jimmy Stewart gives her more respect and appreciation, something that women crave.
The villain in this movie is the diabolical, low down, murderous Liberty Vallance played well by Lee Marvin, who probably had his biggest role as the leader of the Dirty Dozen. Vallance has a couple of men who are always with him, one guy with a beard, who is not very memorable, but also the guy who played Ernest T. Bass in the Andy Griffith Show. I think this movie was made in the late 1950s or early 1960s from the look of it, so that would make sense. When Vallance is killed both of his men are quickly beaten up by John Wayne and thrown out of town. They are nothing without their leader.
The music in this movie is great for atmosphere. It adds a good deal of suspense when it needs to, particularly during the flash back scene when it is shown who has actually shot Liberty Vallance. The main setting for this movie is a small western town. It looks like your typical western town, but it meets the needs of the movie.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance does not have a lot of action, but it is considered by many people to be one of John Wayne’s best movies. It has a great story, great characters and great acting. This is one of those movies that allowed John Wayne to do more with his acting than just beat people up. John Wayne was actually a pretty good actor, and not the two dimensional western hero that some people thought he was. His great acting, which earned him an Oscar for True Grit, can be seen in some better written movies such as True Grit, The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, all of which have made my top ten favorite John Wayne movies of all time list.