HELLFIGHTERS: In one of Wayne's less spectacular later dramas from 1968, he plays real-life character Red Adair, owner of a Texas company that puts out oil-well fires. Katherine Ross, fresh from earning an Academy Award nomination for THE GRADUATE, in '67 plays his feisty daughter.
REAP THE WILD WIND: John Wayne, Ray Milland, and Paulette Goddard team up with the legendary producer-director Cecil B. DeMille to create one of the greatest swashbuckling epics of all time. Adventures on the panoramic high seas highlight this tale of two men competing for the same woman. Key West in the 1840s is filled with salvage businesses thriving on the cargo of wrecked ships dashed against the coral reefs. Spunky ship owner Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard) suspects salvager King Cutler (Raymond Massey) of foul play, since he's always first on the scene at a wreck. The independent, kittenish Southern gal is waiting on deck to help rescue the latest survivors of a wreck when she meets courageous Captain Jack Stuart (John Wayne), who instantly falls for the free-spirited Loxi. Loxi and Jack promise themselves to one another and make arrangements to meet up in Charleston. But, once in Charleston, Loxi meets lawyer Stephen Tolliver (Ray Milland). Despite Loxi's refusal to act like a typical blushing Southern belle, she quickly entices the debonair businessman, who decides that he will do anything to make her his wife. The rivals in love become enemies in the courtroom when Jack helms another wreck and Tolliver suspects foul play. Who will be found guilty and how hinges on some amazing developments. Along with the star-studded cast, this glorious sea spectacle stars huge clipper ships, horrifying storms, and a giant squid in a memorable underwater battle.
ROOSTER COGBURN: John Wayne reprises his role as Rooster Cogburn, the eye-patched, whiskey-guzzling deputy marshall from TRUE GRIT. While on the trail of a gang of outlaws led by his old partner, Hawk (a truly villainous Richard Jordan), Rooster teams up with bible-thumping missionary Eula Goodnight (Katherine Hepburn) to avenge the murder of her father by the gang. The chemistry between Wayne and Hepburn is palpable as barbs fly between the grumpy gunman and feisty missionary, and Strother Martin delivers a sparkling cameo.
THE SPOILERS: Two Yukon adventurers duke it out over a gold claim and a beautiful saloon girl in this remake of the classic Rex Beach novel about life in an Alaskan mining town during the gold rush of early 1900. John Wayne plays miner Roy Glennister, co-owner of a gold mine financed by saloon owner Cherry Malotte (a sultry, double-entendre-spouting Marlene Dietrich). When crooked gold commissioner Alexander McNamara (Randolph Scott) conspires to steal Glennister's claim--along with the affections of Cherry--it's a no-holds-barred showdown between the two rivals in one of the best saloon brawls in cinema history.
THE WAR WAGON: Frank Pierce (Bruce Cabot) is a ruthless man bent on manipulating the cattle business for his own wealth and prosperity. When Taw Jackson (John Wayne), an honest rancher, interferes with his plans, Pierce imprisons him and confiscates his gold-filled land. Taw escapes and plans a raid on Pierce's heavily guarded payroll carriage--but not if Pierce has anything to say about it. After assembling a group of misfits and hired guns, Taw runs into serious opposition when he encounters the madcap gunslinger, Lomax (Kirk Douglas). Sent by Pierce to stop the raid, Lomax winds up taking a liking to Taw, and they decide to join forces and stage a raid on Pierce's WAR WAGON.