• Publishing
John Wayne, John Ford and CV Whitney lilming The Searchers (by courtesy 01
Louise DeWald, Scottsdale, AZ)

----~-----_, - ----i ~


¿ . C)G
First published in 2000 by the Acknowledgments 6
21 Stephen Street, London W1P 2LN 'The Searchers' 7

Copyright © Edward Buscombe 2000
Notes 70
Credits 77
Ihe British Fi1m Institute
promotes greater understanding Bibliography 79
and appteciation of, and
access to, film and moving image
cu1turein the UK

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record für this book is availab1e from the British Library

ISBN 0-85170-820-X

Series design by
Andrew Barron & Collis C1ements Associates

Typeset in Fournier and Franklin Gothic by
D R Bungay Associates, Burghfie1d, Berks

Printed in Great Britainby The Cromwell Press, Irowbridge, Wiltshire



A11 quotations from production memos and letters to Ford are courtesy
the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Copies of A door opens. The camera tracks forward, fo11owing a woman outside (")

the script of The Searchers are lodged in the Lilly Library and in the where, silhouetted against the landscape, she watches a rider
library of the British Film Institute. approaching.. A man comes to stand alongside her and speaks the first
My special thanks for help of various kinds to Corey Creekmur, word of The Searchers . It's a question.
Ned Comstock, Jim D'Arc, Dan Ford, Tise Vahimagi, Noel King, Art 'Ethan?'
Eckstein, Sandra Archer, Dudley Andrew, Gerald Sim, James Nottage, The rider dismounts.. He is dusty, travel-stained" He wears blue
Mike Thomas, Rob White, Markku Salmi, cavalry trousers with a ye110w stripe, a grey military coat with a
sergeant's chevron, and a black hat blowing in the wind,l He holds a
sword in its scabbard,
'That's your uncle Ethan,' says his niece Lucy to her brother Ben.
Ethan silently shakes his brother Aaron by the hand, then kisses his sister-
For Sarah 'sure as the tuming of the earth' in-Iaw Martha reverently on the brow" She precedes him into the house,
in a strange motion, facing him and walking backwards, almost as if one
might walk befare royalty,2 Inside, Ethan sweeps the youngest child,
Debbie, up in his arms, holding her high aboye his head in a gesture he
will repeat at the end of the film, Martha takes Ethan's coat He watches
her as she goes into the bedroom and carefu11y folds it.. Aaron watches
Ethan; he knows what's going on, but he defuses the potential discord by
offering Ethan his hand, 'Thanks, Aaron,' says Ethan, shaking it.. Later,
after supper, Ethan sits outside alone, with only Chris, the family dog, for
company.. He looks back inside the house and sees Aaron closing the
bedroom door, shutting him out.. A great sadness fa11s over Ethan's face,3
The next day there is another scene with Martha and the coat.. It's
shot in the customary Ford manner: put the camera in just the right place,
then have the actors move ar ound it.. We're in the main room of the house,
with the flont door to our lefi:" The Reverend Clayton comes towards the
front of the flame and stands there drinking coffee" He glances sideways to
his lefi:, screen right.. There 's a cut, necessary to establish that it's a point-
of~view shot, to the back bedroom, in which we see what he sees, Martha
holding the coat as if it were a religious relic, stroking it.. Cut back to
Clayton, who, having inadvertently witnessed this private moment, stares
str aight ahead, Martha's secret will be safe with him" Behind his back Ethan
walks in.. Martha comes fIom the bedroom into the fi:ame from the right,
and hands Ethan first his hat, then the coat.. He bends and kisses her on the
brow, as before" She holds his arm and looks up at him" Clayton continues

John Ford had been in pictutes over forty years... he directed his first featute. he seems to have something to hide. all with a chip on their shoulder. Martha comes into the 'California? How should 1know?' hame with Debbie. It was a Western. outside.. watching Ethan leave as she had watched him arrive. maybe a renegade. Ben Allison in The Tall Men. Ethan has resisted integration back into society. Starting as an occasional actor and assistant to his brother Francis. In the (f) next shot. There's a mystery about Ethan walks across the room and out of the door. 'Why didn't you come home before now?' We never do get a precise account of Ethan's movements The secret 01 Ethan prior to his anivaL He has a large store of gold coins. The Searcher:s was his one hundred and fifteenth featute film. _~_ ~~_ . Clayton pretends not to notice they are 'fresh-minted' (the implication is they may be stolen from a bank) . prefening to drift around Missouti robbing banks and trains.... The Western is full of discontented Southerners: Benjamin Tyreen in Majar Dundee. Martha follows. Ethan is in love with his brother's wife. and she with him.. He 's recalcitrant. 'How was California?' o and squeezes polite1y through the door past Martha without a word. puts on his hat questioned by Aaron. didn't tutn his sabre 'into no ploughshare. and by then he' d become the most respected director in Hollywood. Ethan and the posse are leaving.. It violates the sanctity of his brother's home... 11 By the time he carne to The Searchers. The re1ationship is de1icate1y sketched in but unmistakable.J .. there to fester. The Grapes al 8 9 ____. Stonewall Toney in Shane. 4 But about one thing there is no mystery. 'So?' Ethan retorts. There were a lot of people roaming the West at the end of the Civil War who didn't welcome questions about their movements. sending him half~mad with longing and gtief. in 1917. __' . and Ben demands. Aaron remarks that and Martha.... .. though not the last time he will see her.__ . 5 All Ethan's actions are in the shadow of his illicit desire.. Aaron's young son Ben putsues the investigation. neither'.. where has he been the last few years? He's evasive when (f) (f) stops at the door looking out. The Tornado. fout times winner of the Osear for Best Director (The lnjórmer. BFI FILM THE SEARCHERS to stare forward. it tutns inwards. Josey Wales in The Outlaw}osey Wales. and so cannot be expressed Instead. Jesse James was another who didn't sunender. then his past. Like them. There are many questions about Ethan. Clayton puts down his cup. As his grey coat Ethan rides away without looking back It is the last time Martha will see suggests. Ethan has been a Confederate soldier.. sutly and suspicious. been over three years.. deliberate1y not watching what is happening behind him. But the Civil War has him. unfinished business to take care oí.

Lucy rushes towards the back. Martha bringing the coffee pot fi:om the stove. haul her back: 'Wait a minute sister. Clayton starts began when cinema was silent and he'd learned to tell a story through swearing in Aaron and Martin as Rangers: 'Raise your right hand'... I didn't get any coffee yet. and picks up the coffee pot. The comically irascible Clayton Take the scene at the Edwards' ranch the morning after Ethan's admonishes him and loses his train of thought. in 1955. facing the camera. There's a knock at the door.. Mose Harper. only for Clayton. The Quzet Man). riding after cattle thieves: Clayton. How Green Wal My Valley. The dog is barking. Yet the middle 50s and Debbie resume their seats and Clayton asks Debbie if she's been » were not an unmixed triumph for Ford. ' Ethan house.' At this Back in his beloved Monument Valley. it's as though he animates the screen. but by what's actually happening in the fi:ame.. The camera is placed more or less where it was when Ethan first entered the house.. his writer on The Searchen. smoke blows briskly trom the chimney. to But with the right material he was as good as ever. while Aaron crosses into the trame towards the door... Clayton gets his coffee Nesby... as we discover in the next scene... The camera pans and tracks to the window as Ben.. an effect achieved not by busy camera movement or rapid cutting. In the background all is bustle. Ben 10 11 .. all the genius carne flooding back. His drinking was getting worse and there were little bow to Martha before seating himself in the rocking chair. ' Ethan has now reached the table and leans forward Lucy crane to see outside.. There's a quick shot outside oí the Ranger s riding up to the ranch 'faithfully fulfil . That same year Ford had been Jorgensen. seated on the left oí the frame.. ' says Clayton. but this time it stays still for a long time. invests it with vitality and interest. Charlie McCorry.. Lucy getting cups fi:om the Eccentrically personal works like The Sun Shines Bright performed dresser. the camera now tracking forward. Lucy hands a cup to Roberts with its star... with his old fi:iend Merian e. Martha and 'Just call me Captain. 'Shut up... just as Martha moves across it.. Debbie prompts him: arrival.' shouts serving out what looks like oatmeal. It's the next shot that shows Ford's true gift for making things come alive. Clayton. As Ethan strolls ever Ben on the other side.. Martin. reduced to working in television. asking to go along. 'You will faithfully Ford didn't like talk. A wide shot oí the interior has been slowly walking forward fi:om the back. Clayton sits down at the head of the table. Lucy is Clayton. but she brushes past him. attending to the oven by the fire . 6 But where Ford excels is in the way room opens to reveal Ethan. Sorne of his projects were baptised yet. exasperated at another interruption. mindful of who might be the swearing in... as Cooper producing. ' Clayton ploughs on: 'faithfully discharge . but he doesn't listen to the answer.. the illusion oí reallife going on before our eyes. Jorgensen rises to ask Martha for coffee. Martin he could bully to his heart's content and know he'd be forgiven (he and grabs her hand playfully. on her way out back Fonda were never friends again). Clayton eventually completes Ben gets up. learned what to do with a camera (and what not to do).. Mose making a o (J) poorly at the box office. moment Martin appears at the back of the room. screen left. and his stock company oí actors around him whom Martha hands Clayton doughnuts.. Ford to see her boyfi:iend Brad. Clayton explains their business as Ben... Aaron and Jorgensen group round him. closer. Frank Nugent.. in fact. Ben don't just stand there spouting words. said he discharge . Lucy starts fussing with her dress.. Mose pictures. Debbie sits at the table.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o Wrath. At this moment the door at the back of the had 'a wonderful ear fo! dialogue'.. better. Aaron at violent rages. and Clayton puts him right: arriving. pulling on his jacket. Martha. observed by all except shows Martha at the back. one oí which resulted in a fistfight on the set of Milter the back oí the fi:ame talking to Charlie and Nesby. ordering Aaron to get (J) (J) uninspired remakes such as What Fnce Glory. summoning up his presence. Cut to a refi:amed shot oí the door as it opens and a company oí Fordian mise en scene: Rangers pour through. The actors she is somehow pulling back a curtain. Not that has his left hand stretched out to the fire ..( and Mogambo. who hasn't stopped talking fi:om the start oí the shot.. Jorgensen. Debbie. interrupts Clayton. Aaron calls him Reverend. Henry Fonda.

Elvis Presley had made his first held off a large band of Comanche. When he offers to swear Ethan capacity to pursue such freedom . a counter-balance to 'women's invasion of the public sphere By the end of the picture Clayton will have one.. formed in 1835. then the Texans. a signifier of exactly where we are in the West. 'No need to. mainly to fight the Indians. the violent struggle for supremacy over southern Texas in the mid-nineteenth century.. in which twenty-eight buffalo hunters years on. Tane Tompkins has seen the rise of the into the posse. But Ford didn't mind eighteenth century. 9 But might not women also want. only men have the economic and physical and Aaran before him. ride away. the Comanche had been involved in a series of wars against the dated.. It evokes the Ride away. in a part of themselves. on the move. solidity and spontaneity Ford evokes the warm untrammelled by ties of home or work or the other fences which society companionship of human life in this little outpost in the wilderness -life surrounds us with._------_. Tones had a big hit with 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'.. though it's never served. between 1880 and 1920' . nor the first question. .._---~~-----~_ .. and the first Ford's notice while the director was shooting 3 Godfathers in Death Battle of Adobe Walls was fought in 1864 by a force of whites led by Kit Valley in 1948. when they first arrived on the southern Plains from if the close harmony ballads of The Sons of the Pioneers now sounded the north. were an him at home But perhaps the question is more generally addressed.' Western in fiction in the late nineteenth century as a male flight from the 'Why not?' Clayton demands. But this wall provides more than local colour. They offer a fantasy of freedom. then joined the Union in 1845. to us irregular force. Ethan?' feminisation of culture. by the time of The Searchers. In the wide open spaces of the West aman may ride o Ul that for sorne will soon be brutally cut short.. If so. Ten years later carne the Ford hired him to write songs for RiÓ Grande and Wagon Malter. and Carson against several hundred Comanche. 'Ethan?' is not the first word uttered in The Searchm. 11I might they too not want like Huck Finn to 'light out for the territory'? Don't we a1l have dreams of leaving? Strictly speaking.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM on it.. From the recording and popular music was changed for ever.. his taste in music always ran to the folksy. set What makes aman to roam? against the backdrop of an adobe walL Adobe bricks are made of clay What makes aman 1eave bed and board mixed with straw or grass...may be specific to independent of Mexico in 1836. in the nineteenth-century world Ethan's intrusiveness. 'You wanted for a crime. to break free from domesticity and its responsibilities.. in the familiar What makes aman to wander Playbill typeface favoured by Ford for most of his sound Westerns. As we hear the song. the opening scenes provide an answer: there is no place for Texas Rangers. from what Ford in Stagecoach iranically calls 'the blessings of civilisation'._-------"'------------------------ . escaping to a space fram which women are Ethan avoids answering by a further question: 'You got a warrant?' excluded. we feel where he has a mind too Realistically. (Texas had become The question .What makes aman to wander? . ride away. interrogates Ethan.. Cheyenne and Kiowa..8 historical context within which the film is set. Ethan replies. a dream of alife Ul Ul With deft economy. a singing graup Ford had earlier used on-screen in Rio Grande.. At the same time. Five second Battle of Adobe Walls. Warfare 12 13 _ . then the Mexicans. '7 their own. and were used by Pueblo Indians as well as by And tUI n his back on home? the Spanish in the Southwest. in which the Reverend Clayton is a Captain. Spanish. so often about men on p 'Captain the Reverend Samuel Johnson Clayton. like Ben where the Western is set. to Clayton's astonishment. Clayton.. Adobe Jones had been a ranger in the National Parks Service and first carne to Walls was the name of a trading post in southwest Texas.. and addresses him by his full title: alL Westerns are rarely about settled domestic life. his very presence is a disruption. Over the credits we hear the opening stanza and chorus of a song written by Stan Tones and sung by The Sons of the IV Pioneers.) The Ethan. the credits of the film play out. Wouldn'tbe legal anyway...

The age of the earth decided whether Austin. but more poignant. wrote: time needed to hew the canyons from the rock... the view from the Edwards' ranch is of a Aladdin's Cave for American geologists in the last quarter of the landscape partly obscured by dust. hom less than 6.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") between the Texas settlers and the Comanche was endemic for a but through the ability and courage of our artists to take the life and » generation. In Pyne's words. or to grind and wash away the valley floor.6 billion. The clarity of the history of the earth over successive aeons. the sense of space and distance takes one's breath away. . the known and trees. the almost unimaginable stretches of capturing the spirit of the arid Southwest during the 20s and 30s. not by the obedient repetition of European formulas. the art of Georgia ü'Keeffe. which eountry surrounding us. The debate over models of organic evolution same desire to extol American exceptionalism which we find in Frederick informed discussions over moral progress and the future of Jackson Turner's 'frontier thesis'.. was possible. ro go direetly ro them as a source of renders them puny in comparison. that of the long and lonely years which life of the country that produces it? It is not only possible but elapse as Marty and Ethan pursue their quest.. The 5. canyons and mesas..000 years ro the Southwest. Modernism.. The determination of the exact scale of geologic American Llterature andAn.12 In The Southwest in more than 4. 17 nineteenth century to show how the experience of the Western frontier decisively shaped the American character and made it different from the When we look at the eroded landscapes of the Southwest it is impossible European. whose efforts were financial1y 14 15 .. 14 The artist Maynard Dixon. Pyne says of the nineteenth century. in the course life itself. to an appreciation of the distinctively American topography of age of the earth increased a millionfold. that time.' 13 Nationalism played its part in this transformation. culminating in the Red River War of 1874-5 which finally the material of their own country and out of these express their (/) destroyed the Comanche's militar y strength 10 aspiration. 16 playing a key role in the transformation not Searchers was Ford's fifth film in this location. the Grand Canyon became a kind of In the opening shot of the film. There are two [W]hat art is vital that does not grow out of the psychic and material kinds of time in The Searchers. 11 EIsewhere I've described how. American tastes in landscape were transformed. leaving the huge mesas standing clear. They were developing into the mechanics of organic evolution. 15 (/) (") (/) It was science which had first given these new kinds of landscape their v significance. and upon those mechanics depended aesthetic wonderlands that gave rise to the nature writing of Mary the program of social progress. first developed at the end of the civilizations. inspiration and ro work out our own interpretation of them If we Pyne also charts how the kind of landscape art which valorised the are to have anything that can be cal1ed a vital American art it must beauties of the Canyon became itself fossilised by the rise of come this way. specifically the science of geology As Stephen Pyne shows in How the Canyon Became Grand. beginning with Stagecoach only of the aesthetics of landscape but of conceptions of history and of seventeen years previously.000-feet deep chasm revealed nothing less than next day we get our first good look at Monument Valley. As the result of geological discoveries. 'The the air is astonishing. the photographs of Alfred Darwinian evolution by natural selection.. and the immensely longer necessary for us artists to look more hankly at the conditions and geological time which puts al1 human acts into another perspective.. When the band of Rangers ride out nineteenth century. its deserts. The Square to architecture'. David W. fi:om a European-derived preference for mountains. lakes Between the late eighteenth eentury and the mid-twentieth. who devoted himself to not to be in awe of their great age.18 Led by Thomas Moran. Buttes that must be twenty miles away rise sharply Canyon became to geology what the Louvre was to art or St Peter's in focus. Teague traces the rise of what he time and how to organize its unfathomable domain remained the calls 'a desert aesthetic': 'by 1910 deserts had become associated with the particular province of geology Upon its conclusions rested the very height of American culture. with its immense drafts of Stieglitz .

In negative onto standard 35mm film. played a series of gently (1917). BFI FILM THE SEARCHERS . Grey's work had a powerful influence upon standard or 'Academy' ratio. VistaVision switched the twenty years Grey produced a stream of novels with southwestern negative film through ninety degrees and exposed it horizontally. and the 2. Peter Ericson in The Man Who Shot Lioerty Yalance. of Norwegian origin himself. published in 1910. won an Oscar for who is romancing Ethan's niece Lucy and is played by Harry Carey Jr. Call 01 the 35mm still camera. The other Hollywood 's use of landscape in the late lOs and 20s. Hoch had joined Technicolor on graduating from Cal Tech and. giving Canyon and Unda the Tonto Rim. the popular visual appeal of the canyons. played by Ken Curtis.. son of the silent Western star Harry Carey (of whom more anon). Jack Hoxie in A Desert Bndegroom (1922). never shot a foot of monochrome film. by far the most sureness of Ford's eye for composition and Hoch's undoubted skill. by another rancher.sert Driven (1923). had 17 16 . Rida (1929) by Charlie McCorry. Four of the claimed. William S. On his first trip west in 1907. preferring a widescreen process of its own. This effectively doubled the area of the frame..sert Pirate (1927) and Tim McCoy in The De.. The Light of Western Stars and The Ramoow Trail Five more Zane Grey films followed the next install any new equipment. He and the Reverend Clayton are accompanied by Tom Tyler in The De. with Grey insisting on authentic southwestern locations. John Wayne.. such as Desert Gold.85: 1 (compared to the 1. supported by the Santa Fe railroad in order to encourage tourism in the J> makes such sumptuous use of landscape as The Searcher:1. By 1910 Westerns were the most popular film genre. Harry Together. published in 1917. But there are many times in The Searchers paintings which.sert Love (1920). Man and Mista Rooerts. deserts and mesas. indeed no American picture. The desert aesthetic was tailor-made for Hollywood.35:1 of CinemaScope). Over the course of the next back by another lens during projection). and desert scenery was right The little band of Rangers are riding in pursuit of sorne cattle that have on the doorstep. the numbers during the first quarter of the twentieth century.sat. Ford's first colour film shot in Monument Valley was She Wore a Yellow Rlbbon in 1949 Winton Hoch. using it as the setting of the first of his many bestsellers. Paramount had refused to use Southwest. and before The SearcherJ had also done The Quiet actor s. played by John his films. artists descended on such picturesque spots in ever increasing (/) narrative film doesn't let us dwelllong on the beauties of scenery. 19 He'd started with Ford on 3 GodfatherJ in 1948. he had visited the Grand the new system. Hart frequently favoured desert settings for been driven off from the nearby ranch of Lars Jorgensen.. Instead of Canyon on horseback and immediately fell under the spell of south- the anamorphic camera lens which CinemaScope used to compress the western scenery. were innocent of the new ideas in art. Wildfire.33: 1 Monument Valley itself. year. who. to let our eyes fidelity to nature. and his novels were great advantage was that VistaVision prints could be made from the large seized upon by film-makers anxious to exploit his huge popularity. or roam the vastness of the space that dwarfs the tiny riders. Wanderer of the Wasteland. is set in extremely sharp pictures in a ratio of 1. to produce o story must move forward. the cameraman. is popular author of Westerns in the first third of the twentieth century.2Ü Ford it. Svenson Carey in De. No Ford picture. in Cheyenne Autumn). Los Angeles had become VI firmly established as a film-making centre. The movies.sert old Mose (Hank Worden)... as in The Scourge of the Desen (1915) and The Desert Man Qualen. Deserts also One reason that the landscape has such grandeur. besides the played an important part in the novels of Zane Grey. Harry Carey Jr and Hank Worden. remaining dedicated to nineteenth-century ideas of (/) when one is begging Ford to indulge us just a little more. were eager to cash in on azure sky.. Nesby (William Steele). AH the top Western stars of the 20s followed suit: Tom Mix in comic 'Scandinavians in other Ford Westerns (Ole Knudsen in Two Rode De. Ward Bond. wide image onto standard 35mm film (the picture was then expanded The Heritage of the De. and by Jorgensen's son Brad. it's was famous for keeping a tightly knit group around him. and that the movie was filmed in VistaVision" When CinemaScope was the writer most influential in shifting the popular imagination towards the introduced by 20th Century-Fox in 1953. Buck Jones in The Desert Outlaw (1924). as in a settings. feast on the stately towers of red sandstone standing mighty against the never greatly interested in Modernism anyway. Hollywood (/) Southwest. which did not require theatres to 1918 carne films of Ridas 01 the Purple Sage.

was assistant director" Was there ever so much benevolent nepotism in a An authentically American story-structure. we see fom looks inta the store-house. He daughter Lamie" The Comanche chief. we infer. but the mast feared ('ain't Caddos. as usual. the camera dwells on his face. no civil society. !t's a film about family. in patticularly spine-chilling example. who was. has centmies. The camera is inside. while the dog draws Ethan's are the Wood sisters. As Ethan contemplates the fate of (") mother in the film to her real-life son Hany Jr. there the rocking chair and sits minding Marty. just VII small family groups. in charge of the stunt crew. themselves. cast his wife. cmelly rejecting the young man's friendly century alone several hundred such accounts were published Few types overtmes solely. Natalie and Lana.. been introduced riding towards an open door. less fortunate than growls at him" Ethan is a racist bejóre the mmder of Martha. thousands of whites. Wingate Smith. Wayne's son Pat plays Lieutenant Greenhil1. mainly women and children. has a family too. Reining in at the top of a ridge overlooking the homestead the next day. Lucy. is one-eighth Cherokee. as at the dawn of the human race There 's Ethan and his brother Aaron. to be captmed by Indians was a not uncommon experience. From the beginning Ethan will treat him Theit experiences were frequently documented. as Ford's films often are" We're on the edge of the frantier. It's a captivity nanative. like Ethan. father. It is the one Martha wore. He tells Mose not to let Marty see inside: Greenhil1. says Mose). he finds a blue dress. John attention to Debbie 's discarded doll. Debbie and Ben.' 'A man could mistake you for a half-breed. Dorothy Jordan. and in the nineteenth with barely disguised hostility. There's no community to speak of. Colonel Greenhill the distance as he wipes the sweat fi:om his horse. who as Mrs Jorgensen is Comanch [sic] sme'. Aaron's wife Mattha and their three children. tragedy that is to come. as Martha.. evidently it is army is a family affair: Colonel Greenhill commands his son. has been raped and mmdered by the Comanche. 'Won't do him any good. (J) (J) Searchm include Harry Carey's wife Olive. or The 18 19 .. He's It went through fom editions in the first year alone" Over the next two accompanied by Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) who. ain't Kiowas. besides many of his other films" Other Ford veterans in The just any Indians. framing him against the wives in his tepee and hear of two sons. gazing bleakly into (J) Pennick and stuntman and bit player Chuck Roberson. and in minor roles. the captivity nanative single film? may be traced back at least as far as the seventeenth centmy. who falls into the hands of the enemy. The Tale of Samuel Whiskers. both playing Debbie.' Mase draws what comfort he can from righting And it's a film which contains families" Besides the Careys. though this hardly seems to register with Ken Cmtis (manied to his daughter Barbara) as Charlie. Jack Martha and the others. leaving Aaron at home with Eventually takenback into white society. whose parents have been Ethan sees it's on fire" Sttiding through the smoke and fiames.T H E S EARe H ERS BFI FILM (") r between them made a total of sixteen previous appearances in Ford arder to divert them away from the now unprotected ranches" And not » Westerns. who experiences a brown make-up). we Many were taken for ransom.. she published her story in 1682" Mattha in the safety of the homestead. Producer Metian Cooper Mattha. and we foresee the is played by Cliff Lyons. underwent this fate" accompanied by sorne jaunty music and leaping off his horse" Martin. others were adopted into Indian tribes learn. It is a fatal misjudgement.' Ethan tenifying yet pleasmable thrill in the story of one. Even the light We cannot see his face. mother. but coming in at a clip. and Ford cast his son-in-Iaw Aaron and Ben are dead too. it appears. but also a revenge plot. Mattha'. even children's stories In a evidence that they have been dtiven off not by mstlers but by Indians.. Scar. is clear.. both killed by whites. Such a basic nanative On the trail of the missing cattle the Rangers soon discover stmcture can be adapted to any gente. most of whom were also veterans of Ford pictmes. when Mary Ethan has offered to join the Rangers in the search for the cattle" Rowlandson was captmed by Indians dming King Philip's War in 1676" His motive is presumably self-sactificing. bm he bends his head in grief. because of his racial origin (emphasised by of narrative exert as visceral a hold on the reader. and the brother of Ford's wife. son Brad and 'Martha. They have adopted Marty. Ford's son Pat Ethan Lucy and Debbie have been captmed Now the shape of the story was associate producer. crying killed" Theit neighboms are the Jorgensens. Lieutenant Martha's body he has seen.

.. Ethan is surprisingly bring himself to articulate it. is Ford's own Two Rode Together. sorne electing to stay with their captors even when offered neutered.22 One analysis suggests that 'the prime candidate for transgressive desire for his brother's wife means there is no place in the transculturation was a girl aged seven through fifteen'. besides intuit that Scar.. Little Big Man and Dances with WOlves. All we know is what is festering in Ethan's mind. the Western movie has exploited its potential in such But it's more than just the horror of an Indian having sex with a films as Northwest Passage. It will be the story of Scar. and one so hostile to Indians. we learn almost nothing of her life in captivi. thus two-fold: that the two captured girls will be raped. Ethan walks up to Scar and of Ethan's mission. referring to them the confrontation is shot to emphasise this resemblance. Ethan's response is to try to kill contemporary version. assume the high moral ground. two disgusting Indian Chiefs .. after ayear. By the (f) (f) into a pudding. white woman that drives Ethan.. Miscegenation is unbearable to mainstay of Western fiction in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. allows him to title page of History of the Captivity and Providential Release of Mr:s . He can hardly For a white man. the Comanche chief whom Ethan implacably pursues. he takes her home. ' He cannot finish the sentence. 'She's o (f) Already successful as biography. his expressed intention.. and which Scar now wears around his not the gener al process of transculturation she must be undergoing. But for Ethan his its superiority. until she's of an age to . wreaking upon Scar the punishment he deserves. in sorne sense Ethan's unconscious. her. and to rescue stands very close. Stories of humans kidnapped by aliens are a more time they find her she 's reached puberty. And when finally he catches up with Debbie.. Though violation of female captives by Indians was apparently the Scar has acted out in brutal fashion the illicit sexual desire which Ethan exception. But his self-righteousness. The avenger. '. it did occur.. Debbie.. immediately followed by a close up The shape and direction of the film are now clear. published in 1838. Ethan's desire for revenge is assuaged and instead of killing release. Scar walks out of as 'my people' . to avenge the rape and murder of Martha. 'She's been living with a buck. fiom whom they received the most When at the end of the film Ethan finally catches up with Scar he cruel and beastly treatment'.. Unconquered. Scar will echo: 'You her experience. the captivity narrative became a nothing but a . 'You speak pretty good American for a Comanch [sic].21 Yet contrary to the opportunity such finds him already dead... In the event. Tom Kitten is captured by the rats the Jorgensens'. You don't have to be a psychoanalyst to AMan Called Horse..23 Ethan's fear is home. Once Scar's sexual threat has been 'went native'.24 thought of her having sex with Indians that eats away at him. Ethan is the one who first thinks the 20 21 . both fears are VIII realised... Ethan's assumption of the role of justified pruriently focused on the sexual outrages suffered by white women... and in the nineteenth century sorne narratives harboured in his heart.. Not surprisingly. his id if you like.. Ethan soon discovers that Lucy has suffered an identical fate to Martha's.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o r Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter.' he says to Marty in justification.. with.. a Comanche and has all but become Comanche herself. Comanche Station. As he says to Marty befare their first return to familiar with Indian ways. can be seen as an female friend were forced to become 'the companions of. In raping Martha. him.. Drawing his knife. speak good Comanch. he cannot find the wor d. Someone teach you?' Inside. shot by Marty... it's the ownneck. she is the wife of Scar and Ethan are mirror-images. ir must be effaced by murder. a decision profoundly troubling to a white society convinced of Debbie... and to cohabit attempt to blot out his own guilt. an act which raises sorne eyebrows. records how Mrs Harris and her of Futterman. no family he can be integrated into. in many accounts the captives in a symbolic act of castration. Scar shows Ethan the ty. he scalps Scar stories gave of demonising the Indians.. 'they'll keep her to raise as one of their own )o- who live behind the skirting board and is rolled up in pastry to be made until . losing their white identity. But as time passes Ethan realises that Debbie will be changed by Someone teach you?' Before they enter the tent. what obsesses him is medal he had once given Debbie. of a corresponding size and angle. his tent. as in the killing Caroline Harris... In the event. and/or that they will be absorbed into Indian society.. Ride away. There is a close-up of Ethan. In the scene where they finally meet. the 'fate worse than death' of Victorian melodrama. SoldierBlue.

he too insists on racial difference: 'Fellow could mistake you for a half-breed. has to wander forever between the winds' (a little like Ethan to the smaller outfits of Poverty Row. and is a skilled hunter. like Ethan.' 23 22 . then eats hiro. has even lived among thero.Mose who himself 'imitates' lndian ways with the feather in his hat.. United cover.26 spiritually. what kind of a band of Texans discover one of the lndians dead. Comanche might be on a murder raid. 'Ain't got no eyes he can't enter the spirit the major studios had largely withdrawn ftom the genre. Ethan is the in the 40s came signs that the Western was ready to take on board the expert: 'Nope. even though he has been adopted by Aar on and Martha. BFI FILM THE SEARCHERS (") Scar and Ethan are Ethan's act of scalping Scar is only the final confirmation that he » mirror-images has much of the lndian in hiro. 25 Ethan has lndian bead-work on his ftinged rifle units. Same way attraction. perhaps) .) In pursuit of the Comanche. When Brad wonders if lndians are human. Such a type was developed by James Fenimore Cooper in his Leatherstocking Tales. Bumppo refers to himself as 'a man without a cross'. his funny little war IX dance when Ethan starts to unsaddle his horse. and attack at the river. ofi:en described as a noir Western.. his war whoop later when the Comanche attack at the river. which Ethan translates as 'goes about'. When Ethan first meets Marty. leaving the field land. so (") they are wanderers. and he recognises the singing of the chief's death song before the Artists.' Later he explains another difference to Marty: 'lnjun'll Howard Hughes' The Outlaw.. he insists. meaning that his blood-line is not crossed with that of the lndians. The branch of the Comanche that Scar Ul Ul leads are called 'Nawyecka'. But at the end of the decade Fox. a human rides a horse till it dies. indeed has much of the wild in him. was frank about sexual chase a thing till he thinks he 's chased it enough.. But precisely because he is so close. his hero. but as far as Ethan is concerned that's enough. explaining that In fact by the mid-SOs the Western had come a long way. the small A racist hero motivated by desire for his brother's wife... and King Vidor's Duel m the Sun (1946) was franker stilL when he runs.. then he quits.. Natty Bumppo. rides him twenty more miles. Ox-Bow Incident (1942) was a discomforting film about lynching. has more in common with the lndians than with the whites. on the difference. buried under a stone in Western is this? Aren't Westerns simple tales of good guys and bad guys? the traditional manner. Paramount. aman of the woods. or their own specialised B-feature himself. ' Marty protests he is merely one-eighth Cherokee. like Ethan himself.. gets that horse up. In Regeneration Through Violence Ul Richard Slotkin traces the evolution during the eighteenth century of a particular type of American hero. has some echoes of The Searchers: its hero (played by Robert Mitchum) is just keep coming on.. seems like he never learns there 's such a thing as a critter'll Raoul Walsh's Pursued (1947). More than once he remarks that Marty is no kin to him.. Warners. then he goes on afoot adult themes which film noir and the melodrama were exploring. The Comanch comes along. even MGM. that driving off the cattle is just a feint (Mose has suggested it is lndians. In the early 30s according to lndian religion. Ethan shoots his eyes out. Such a hero knows lndians intimately. had resumed production of A-feature Westerns. has the lndian virtues of hardiness and bravery. based initially on a largely fictionalised Daniel Boone. not rustlers . Like them he is at home in the wilderness. released in 1943.

full of talk about fishing and hunting trips. no other leading actor was such a force in o (f) plenty in America. Yet somehow they all divined that his sexual tensions had become the motor driving many Western plots.. 'welcome to the club. Certainly veteran and rabid Indian hater. Robert Taylor is a Civil War their personality ovenides the local variations of the role. In the aggression towards them masked a deep affection he could not bring extraordinary series of Westerns directed by Anthony Mann. Elia Kazan with Baby Doll. He is the pivotal character in the in Fort Apache. Trail (1930) In his book }ohn Wayne. sensed the Ford's cinema (the earlyfilms with Hany Carey have mostly beenlost. But it's not x true that he simply performs himself. like Ethan's relation to Martha.. The quasi-incestuous nature of the Wil1s argues that at least half of the best films of each man were done (f) (f) relationship has. George Stevens with Giant. He knew Stagecoach had saved him. that his screen charisma is just a projection of his real-life persona. And Western heroes. disturbed and violent character barely under controL In The Last Hunt. The sheer force and fascination of made the same year as The Searchers. an indomitable solidity. It's not so much his acquired toupee at the Monument Val1ey location. Wayne 'never forgot what that movie had done for murderous feud between the two sons. In letters to the director. dysfunctional families are the norm..28 rancher. But there's a grave risk of losing the audience if the character is the first to draw out the iron in his soul. film stars don't seek to impersonate characters. who once had been blameless paragons of But what had Wayne done for Ford? It's commonly supposed that. the naive young hero of Stagecoach.. al1 Araner. The Politics of Celebrity Gany » and has manied his adopted sister. Douglas Sirk with Wfitten on the Wind. 27 It was Wayne's ninth size. courage and virtue. Nicholas Ray with Bigger Than the companion during many drinking bouts on board Ford's yacht. a powerful charge. But Hollywood. who has kil1ed always addresses Ford as 'coach' . Howard Hawks had been hooked. When he walks together. so tensions that seethed beneath the tranquil smface... now revealed fiaws" Stewart often displays a unlike mere actors. Ford behaved to Wayne. His voice is loud and he speaks slowly. they went on to make a further five films claims that Wayne was six foot four are exaggerated. a massive assurance.. like Ethan he kil1s buffalo just so that the Wayne is a dominating presence on the screen. Already he was wearing a hairpiece. the Eisenhower years.. were times of peace and Fonda (seven starring roles). a figure of authority. Wayne regarded Ford with awe. as he behaved to al1 his intimates. Ford expressed his admiration of Wayne's John Wayne had just turned forty-eight when he began shooting performance in that film with a characteristic put-down: '1 never knew The Searchers. casting him as the obsessive Tom too rebarbative. especially his Western roles. In 1956 others besides we cannot make a judgement)" Ford were at work dissecting the anatomy of the American family: The relationship was close" Wayne was part of Ford's inner circle. Ford used him in a variety of roles: as The troubled hero may have been fashionable in the mid-50s Western. one adopted. he Winchester' 73 (1950) Stewart seeks revenge on his brother.. as if accustomed to being listened too He brings to his roles. but Gany Wills says the oft-repeated staning role for John Ford. though Ford makes the most of his size by often putting 24 25 . with a puncturing the complacency and hypocrisy of bourgeois life. its nose to the wind.. afi:er the uncertain start of The Bzg taller than either. nanative. they are simply themselves. Family and mixture of bul1ying and banter . It was Ford of course who had given him the chance to relaunch along beside Jeffrey Hunter and Hany Carey Jr he's not appreciably his career with Stagecoach in 1939. what Ethan will do is the question which keeps the audience which Wayne himself considered his best role. In his which staned James Stewart. Scar calls him 'Big Shoulders'. of a patriarchal him and how Jack had fought to use him' . in The Man From Laramie (1955) Stewart is caught up in a Hany Carey Jr says.. As their father. Instead.... the Lijé. Dunson in Red River (1947).THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o traumatised by the memory of his father's affair with his adopted mother.' the sonofabitch could acr.' 29 he remarked to Hany Carey Jr when he saw him wearing his newly Wayne bestrides The Searcher:s like a colossus... not just physically big but Indians will starve. when they were working together. as aman of retirement age in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. as an officer matme beyond his years but Ethan is a diHicult role to play.. With the possible exception of Henry The later 50s. most of himself to reveaL For his part...

horses are up the ritual ('Put an amen to it').. nor Methuselah but he gives the salty dialogue. rooted to the spot. the remaining mourners tr ailing in his wake. at the earth with his knife.. imagining the horrors taking place there. rich with the rhythms of biblical English neither'). as in the opening scene as Ethan with Ethan sorely wounded... Ford had used it for tops the ridge and sees the burning ranch below him. . often caricatured. Peter Wollen has pointed to the loss.. 30 that Ethan is less interested in finding the girls alive than in vengeance. and then Laurie takes up her place among Western actors. whether seated in the rocking chair at the Edwards' ranch. The moment when Ethan looks back at his brother's with the landscape. At their backs is a huge mass of stone called Square ranch. ftantically shooting We cut back to Mr Jorgensen and Laurie. the measured weight it deserves. ~ __. stabbing Cochise in Fort Apache. when the audience has to intuit his columns of Indians on both sides. she runs to them static camera position. water a close-up as he watches the mad woman at the fort" In his face we see his has an almost biblical symbolism.. rudely interrupting the singing of 'Shall once again contentedly nuzzling a pool of water. the sine qua non of cultivation.._. on the western side of Monument Valley. and now in the funeral scene.. at ease with himself physically.. but he's not listening" from within the cave. at the bottom left corner. Marty finds water dripping from a rock. a similar moment when he Rock. Even in action his movements Jorgensens. . across a small stteam cutting through the desert sand.. At such moments Wayne Nash Smith identified as central to nineteenth-century discourses about achieves the near-impossible. When they make contact with Debbie. there is a lyrical shot of horses gambolling in a strongly marked in the composition of the film . The Comanche ride along the skyline. Ethan breaks when at last they bring Debbie back home to the Jorgensens'.. never surpassed sideways to take in Mrs Jorgensen too. his grace deserts him. as when he aims a careful shot at Scar pleads with him not to waste lives in vengeance. the camera moves And then there's his voice. walking rapidly (") en casually back on his bunk at the Jorgensens'. his fellows. at one for being so spare. all the more moving in that he can hardly express it in importance in Ford's work of the desert/ garden antinomy which Henry words. questioning the competence of Clayton. and he disrupt at the wedding of Laurie and Charlie. Trapped in a cave. all the more affecting in one so strong.. so close that he's not even in focus" The saddle while in camp with Marty and Look. irrigates the parched earth" When after many weary months Ethan and Marty return Wayne inhabits his space with confidence. In this desert land. leaning As we dissolve to the next shot. It's Wayne's sheer presence that is so We Gather at the River'. and sympathy for a murderous racist. ------l. when Captain Thursday meets he has found the murdered body of Lucy and falls to the ground. high-pitched almost. who already suspects and demotic American... Marty As Marty rides out of ftame to follow Ethan. BFI FILM T HE S EARe H ERS (") the camera below head-height. When in the grip of his mania. feelings simply from his face" Ford's use of close-ups was the more telling following the rise and fall of the terrain as if they are part of it. watch him. but Ethan's restlessness is to the Jorgensens' ranch. from which he ftames gr oups in formal poses care. refusing to let Marty call him uncle ('no. Ethan is confrontational with matured into a firm baritone. In his first starring role in The Bzg Trail it was between her parents.. Wayne's greatest acting in The Searchers is precisely at those Out in open country the little band of Rangers find themselves fianked by moments when he has to do very little. A quarter of a century later it had Hard on the trail of the Comanche. his expression after another confrontation with Indians. fully arranged across the screen. a hard thing to be on screen. In the next shot Mrs Jorgensen are usually calm and deliberate. But at XI significant moments water. or sprawling against his across the front of the frame. his suffering. He charges out of the fr ame en en gives the feeling of being relaxed. 31 Its most poignant representation is the cactus rose which John self-sufficient figure. a sacrosanct Fordian anthem which he will again :» overwhelming" He can be very still. making us feel pity for such a monumentally the West. And approaches his brother's farm. Ethan intrudes...¡:tIr. lightweight. in a composed tableau of those who are left behind. and indeed one wonders how anyone could be trying to farm in such a place. who is saying goodbye to fieeing Indians or slaughtering buffalo. 26 27 .. Ford repeatedly favours a water hole. the agony on his face as the camera tracks in for The Rangers take refuge across the river... Wayne hands Vera Miles in The Man Who Shot Liberty Válance" There's nothing much that could be called a garden in The Searchers.. Wisely he doesn't attempt a Texas accent.

He justifies befits a frontier preacher. disturbed. man when the heat of battle is on.. sweeter. On the soundtrack we hear a musical phrase from the what Ethan has tried to put underground.. Later. 'Whaddaya want me to do. drawing us 'a picture' of the act of rape which obsesses 33 Ford is never confused with piousness. Along the trail they notice some of the rushes into the Comanche campo The camera holds on the faces of Ethan Indians have detoured into a narrow canyon... As also allows the film to hint at the darkness deep in Ethan. We don't see the Indian attack on the Edwards' ranch. but suppressed.... until the Reverend Clayton physically restrains him.. absorbing yet more tragedy. distraught with grief. Both the chronology and the geography of The ever ask me more. Born Heinrich von Kleinbach in Berlin. It's extraordinary how many moments of violence are (") UJ played Fu Manchu. it is twilight. or in the case of The Comanche charge is beaten off. How long 28 29 ----------_. It's as if at the Clementzne has 'read the good book from cover to cover and back again' end suppression is no longer possible. He sits and digs shot of Ethan and Marty riding diagonally left to right across the vastness viciously with his knife in the sand between his legs. residents of Monument Valley. Ford usually neither Lucy's death nor Brad's. as so often in the Western.. only her dead cast Navajo. while a soft autumnallight bathes the scene. dancing and drinking at Laurie's wedding. as was then the custom of Hollywood... says it wasn't Lucy. and Marty. The two shots also connote buried her in his coat. We don't see Look killed. often racially threatening (he anguish. briefly glimpsed prior to the attack on the Edwards' ranch.. Brad has to know the details: 'Did they . stretching and contracting elusively. but those unheard/Are UJ played by Henry Brandon.. and Clayton will preside over light. He's only half expressed. Only Scar's death and mutilation are seen on screen. who jokes '1 been baptised.. long as you live. ? Was distance . We see it has to be said there's nothing very Indian about his looks. There's Ethan's 'Johnny Reb' coat has disappeared. though Marty notices obscured in mist.T H E S EARe H E RS BFI FILM (") As the Rangers make a stand at the river we get our second sight of The most heart-wrenching scenes in Ford are when the emotion is r )o- Scar.. Clayton. It's striking just how many scenes in the film are linked by dissolves. Things must finally be brought to and 'nary found one word agin dancing'. and then another to a shot of Marty and Ethan in sorne with emotion. draw ya a picture? Spell it out? Don't ever ask me.. Brad and Marty ask of Monument Valley. the Martha's death.. Reverend' when asked how far it is to the river.. He is certainly an imposing figure.. It as they retreat. Ethan vows he will pursue them alone. His priestly office does not escape the mockery of Mose. Brad another dissolve to a shot of them riding in the other direction. XII Disgusted with Clayton's interference in his personal vendetta against the Indians... but 'a buck' wearing Lucy's dress.. Ford knew the same applied to moments of UJ Brandon specialised in villainous roles.. Tenderly he explains that he found Lucy dead back in the canyon and the traditional signal of time passing. after which there can be resolution. It's dusk. the preacher in My Darling him. will not let Marty see. keeping such Indians fight with more bravado than tactical nous. and half the valley is what's up but they get no coherent response... Ethan.. going first one way she . but for Indians with speaking roles he almost invariably preferred semi-darkness We fee! the horror of Lucy's death all the more because white actors.' Searchers are relative. 32 our imagination has to supply what Ethan will not tell. Marty and A volley of gunshots signals Brad 's death as.. and carry off their hurt and dead. .' There 's a firm distinction drawn between when he emerges his savage stabbing with his knife seems to mimic a Christian decency and Ethan's uncivilised blood-Iust. before dissolving to a beautiful When he comes back he seems preoccupied.. across a comes excitedly into camp saying he's seen Lucy.' Keats wrote. Ethan goes to investigate. At the same time... trees..?' Ethan blazes into anger at the boy's clumsy attempt to uncover then another.. his voice quiet field of snow. Ethan continues firing things hidden not only invests them with extraordinary emotive power. or early morning. he Brad insist that they will go too. though religion in violent sexual act. 'Heard melodies are sweet.. though as ready to fight as thenext keeping Lucy's fate a secret on the grounds of sparing Brad's feelings... don't Time and place.the emptiness of the space they traverse. is mindful of the proprieties: 'Let them But he turns off the trail to penetrate a narrow crevice in the rocks. as the spear-carriers in his body Even the shooting of Futterman and his accomplices takes places in films.. for example). opening song: 'ride away'..

eight or nine. and ends him. Ethan remarks that they will find Debbie. was nine at the time the film was shot (though the script says (J) Debbie is eleven. also in Monument Valley. Wingate. the shooting of Futterman. elapses between the the western parto Fort Richardson was in northern Texas. the total duration seems to be less than of February 1955" The scene where Ethan shoots the buffalo was filmed this. the episode which ends with Brad's death" The two shots interior s as the inside of the Edwards' and Jorgensens' houses. somewhere in a much lengthier passage of time. months. to say. years.although when we see Debbie the second time. Lana Wood. concluding in 1876. we suppose. presumably. Sitting on his horse as the snow falls. about the hottest time of the year. she is wearing the same clothes as the first time. indeterminate length. a location which measures about thirty miles long the letter may have taken to arrive)" lmmediately they set off again by forty. Mr Jorgensen says it's ayear since Apart from these excursions. at the Lilly Library summarises the chronology and geography of the story end the door of the Jorgensens'. over two hundred miles east of Fort Richardson" So their wound to heal. but presumably out on the frontier. the Monument Valley locations are the turning of the earth'. A document location. If she means five years since he first left.. though the film often seems deliberately vague" We can assume that soon after in Elk lsland National Park. 'sure as the turning of the earth'" However. when she is miles" 30 31 . and Ethan and Marty's west of the present Dallas-Fort Worth conurbation" Fort Wingate was in appearance down on the border. a time-reference that might suggest passing real enough" The company shot ther e for a whole month.. by golly!' (actually there have not know exactly where in the very large state of Texas the Edwards' been three if we count the one from Futter man) "We have to assume that farm is supposed to be. the tr ader who has news of Debbie" Subsequent events 1868' there are no subsequent captions to indicate place. It begins later. Location scenes shot outside the Valley are few. the entire search. in Oklahoma. but the which follow of Ethan and Marty roaming mark an ellipsis. for five years or he got Ethan's letter telling of Brad's death (though we don't know how more. then. which might » search? 'Texas 1868'. We do delighted to get 'two letters in one year. Ethan's journey is circular" At the beginning we see him coming entitled 'Route Traveled by The Searchers' in the Ford collection at the out of the valley towards his brother's house in Monument Valley. on the other side of Albuquerque. Laurie protests to Marty (J) (J) Debbie is. Not as much as one might think. but one of brief scene with the Rangers in the marsh. for a distance of nigh on two thousand Marty . When Ethan and Marty return. who plays the older Debbie. Cobb. Canada" not much time elapses between the Comanche raid on the Edwards' ranch The scenes shot on a sound stage were done at the RKO-Pathé studio and the point at which Ethan. Alberta. but scraps of are recounted in Marty's letter to Laurie. or what was then ludian and Marty arrive back at the Jorgensens' there has been time for his Territory. closes upon from Alan LeMay's novel. but how long they take and how dialogue give an occasional indication" When Ethan first returns to the much time has elapsed from writing this letter to its delivery is also hard Jorgensens' he says they have been to 'Fort Richardson. Marty and Brad catch up with the from 18 July till13 August 1955" These included not only such obvious Comanche. that appears to o young gir!. to Gunnison in Colorado to shoot snow scenes for three days at the end From internal evidence. After the opening title 'Texas to find Futter man. a distance of six or seven he takes an lndian arrow Ethan says Scar has got to kill them: 'we 've been hundred miles to the west" Fort Cobb and the Anadarko lndian Agency asking for it for five years' He is severely wounded. marking the and the scene in the snow where Ethan says they'll find Debbie 'sure as passing of the seasons. The diegetic space is much vaster. not far to the events described in the letter to Laurie. where they find Scar's camp Just before New Mexico. and for Laurie to decide that she can no longer wait for search extends. there and back. A second unit went 'Winter 1876-7'. the original novel 'pushing ten'). in the fall of 1870. who plays her as a when he returns the second time that she has had only one letter fi:om him in five years. since Jorgensen is Anadarko Agency'" This would represent a considerable journey. near Edmonton. the screen says at the beginning" At that time suggest the time elapsed is not so great afIer al!. Geography is also somewhat vague" In terms of the film's actual the action of the film lasts eight years. but by the time Ethan were back the other way. Her sister Natalie confirm Ethan's estimate of the total time they have been searching" Wood. is shot in the Valley. was seventeen" On this basis. several years. from 16 June till days.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o r does the action of the film last? And where exactly do Marty and Ethan rescued. But how many? 10 July 1955.

. was obsessed with such scenes. (Sam Peckinpah. words faiL Inside the house Laurie carries water far Marty to have a bath. 'Oh..T H E S EARe H ERS 6FI FILM There are few other precise geographiealloeations mentioned in » the film though there are plenty in LeMay's novel. moving outside to greet the riders. The geographieal vagueness has the effeet oí inereasing our sense of the vast distanees Ethan and Marty must travel in their search. as Martha was. a cowboy. nor exaetly where we are when Ethan first meets Sear.Jorgensens' porch 33 .. As horses wa110w in a pool oí water. leather chaps. Jorgensen says he did. A composed tableau of those who are left behind XIII Fo11owing the shot in the snow.. usua11y encased in its armour of rough denim.. across the frontier which Western heroes bestride. When they eateh up with Sear at the end he is at 'Seven Fingers of Brazos'.. not for the first time. at the wide open space around them.. in so many ways the inheritor of Ford's mantle. just as the imprecision of the duration expended makes time hang heavy upon them.34 Ethan asks Mr Jorgensen ií he got the letter about Brad. The male body. '.. Ford sure1y had the best sense oí composition. Mrs Jorgensen is seen.. André de Toth) . stands beside a corral coiling a length oí rope. more time passing.. shakes Ethan's hand and gestures. exeept that it's obviously deep into the Hispanie regions of o (J) the Southwest. like Aaron. whom Ethan and Marty greet as Sam.. gunbelt and boots. we see Laurie take up her position screen right as the third point of the little triangular family. Scenes of men bathing are frequent and significant in the Western.. Lars Jorgensen comes to stand alongside her. at the 'south end oí the Malapai' . In a reverse shot.. near or even over the border. is only exposed when wounded (as Ethan wil1later be). nearly in tears. Ethan. but that's an awfullot of eountry. of a11 Ho11ywood's legendary one-eyed director s (Fritz Lang. from inside her house. to a distant shot oí Ethan and Marty approaching the Jorgensens' rancho It's a pastoral scene oí great but simple beauty. including them in Rzde ¡he Hzgh 32 Finale: on the . The Brazos river runs aeross the north-west part oí Texas. there's another dissolve. framed against their Texas Gothic. A pastoral scene of great but simple beauty style ranch house. or when undergoing the cleansing ritual that marks the passage from wilderness to civilisation. We don't know where (J) (J) Futterman's trading post is... Raoul Walsh. this country..

Ethan stabs savagely with his knile Monument Valley: the splendour 01 its vistas Wayne as Ethan: the agony on his lace The Comanche: at one with the landscape 34 The audience has to intuit his leelings Magical scenery: Totem Pole 35 .THE SEARCHERS B F I F I L M (") r » (f) (f) (") (f) After linding Lucy.

a dark-womb like space 37 . or Wild Goose Flying in the Night Sky (Beulah Archuletta) The camera is positioned in a place of refuge.THE SEARCHERS B F I F I L M o r » (J) (J) o (J) The Jorgensens' house: Texas Gothic Reading Marty's letter 36 Look.

THE SEARCHERS B F I F I L M o . » U> U> o U> Laurie and Charlie: 'Skip to my Lou' South of the border 'The sun's low down the sky. Lorena' down Mexico way 38 Reallndian life'? Natalie Wood as Debbie Ethan with Scar's scalp 39 .

But I don't think it'll be for ever.' Texas 1868: we've seen the (") (f) significance of the date.. he'd live in hell and rent out Texas. Aaron tells his brother that some of his neighbours have quit. presumably).. just after the Civil War.. an image derived largely from the movies themselves.. though good cattle country. by contrast .THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") r Country.v.36 Mrs Jorgensen's feisty speech about Texas is the only direct expression in the film of the ideology that underpins the Western myth.. The Glory Guys and Villa Rides.satisfies our aesthetic expectation but is an improbable place to raise cattle. besides two films he scripted but did not (f) (f) direct.. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground befare that time can come. Ethan's gesture by golly!'). . as Jorgensen is trying to do ('next time 1'11 raise pigs. is flat. In a survey. the east and the north. almost featureless.. It's a tough place to pioneer in.. Yet the actual number of films which actually used Texas as a location was tiny. In fact much of Texas. Some day this country's going to be a fine good place to be. Whitney's involvement with the film was primarily a financial one. and so there was a need to 'dignify or broaden the story' by changing the title to The Searchersfor Freedom and adding a prologue and epilogue 'in order 40 'Let's go home. . Mrs Jorgensen describes the character of the people: 'A Texican is nothing but a human man way out on a limb . two French academics sampled 411 Westerns.Whitney picture.. This year and next .. that of Manifest Destiny.. The landscape we see in The Searchen. As the first frame of the credits inform us. The market was being flooded with Westerns. but not as an actual location.. Fixed in our minds is an image of canyons and mesas.. Ethan. MajorDundee..Monument Valley..' maybe for a hundred more. what of the place? General Phil Sheridan memorably remarked that if he owned hell and Texas. yielding Httle of interest to the camera.. the idea that the expansion of those of European origins into the American West was both inevitable and desirable. 37 He wanted the film to have a more portentous message.. a natural outcome of a historical process. but in a letter written while the film was in preparation Whitney ventured to offer Ford some advice about the film's content.35 Why? Because most of Texas doesn't look like Texas ought to. The Searchers is a C. ' Texas occupies a pivotal position in the mythical geography of the Western. and 'Do you know what Ethan will do if he has a chance? Put a bullet in her brain. Later. The Wild Bunch. going back to 'chopping cotton' (in the more settled east of the state. The BaIlad of Cable Hogue and >- Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Debbie ' 41 . Arizona .) 'Oh. this countrJ. and in 19% the story was set in Texas.

Society figures. he escaped and made his way to Warsaw. and later in the decade he dabbled in film production. Pilsudski. with Selznick InternationaL Cooper was aman whose early life would made fi:om his own script in 1950" LeMay remains much better known for have made a stirring movie in itself. But they made little impression and with the military. Fall fledgling C. it was written by Alan LeMay" Retitled column of the New York Journal dated 14 October 1955 recounts that as The Searchers. He the newly perfected Technicolor process Pioneer was eventually merged produced a couple of films and directed one. both produced by Patrick Ford. 'Sonny makes a fleeting appearance as a hard-hitting US cavalryman in Born in Indianapolis in 1899. with the intrepid hero perhaps played two novels which others made into films: The Searcher:s. 38 Sonny had a finding time to help pioneer Pan American Airways. Ford. the Western High Lonesome. in fi:ont of the astonished Whitneys. His Whitney's involvement with Selznick carne about through his achievements in the movies were modest. At RKO Cooper formed a Truman. Old soldiers all. and was shot down again" Imprisoned this that he took any notice.. formed to make prestige films in Errol Flynn. whose record in his book. C. In 1933 he and 'good war'.T H E S EARe H ERS BFI FILM to strengthen the ideas behind the new title and to emphasise The Villa. Accordingly. and there 's no evidence Force against the Bolsheviks. wanted to work with Ford on a picture to be called The Va1iant The Searchers was not one of the career peaks Sonny saw fit to Virgiluans. and Schoedsack directed King Kong for RKO. the scions of industrial dynasties with extensive interests in Schoedsack in such exotic spots as Ethiopia. Cooper and Whitney shared a fascination with the latter starring Pat Wayne. Wagon Master and the 'cavalry trilogy' of film two other pieces of Americana the year after The Searchers: The FortApache. LeMay published sorne Western The Search [sic] when star John Wayne leads a charge on aband of pesky novels in the later 20s and 30s. winning the Distinguished Service Medal. the Whitneys close working relationship with John Ford. Both were wealthy and well.. as a practical joke" The gossip Entitled 'The Avenging Texans'. though he was something of a fi:iendship with Merian c. working on North must await the verdict of a sharper-eyed scholar. also mining.v.... it was published as a novel at the end of 1954. newspaperman before making documentary films with Ernest connected.. both having a financial involvement in David tried to persuade Selznick to back Stagecoach" Selznick turned up his O. C. She Wore a Yellow Ríbbon.. But Whitney and his wife did visit Monument Valley work had formed the basis of the cavalry trilogy.. Do I make myself clear?' But Ford was imprisoned by the Germans" After the war he flew for the Polish Air UJ UJ notoriously deaf to advice he didn't care to hear. sportsmen and entrepreneurs. and Río Grande" Missourz Traveler and The YOung Land. writing credits included San Antonio (1945). and The by Clark Gable" Having fought with the National Guard against Pancho UnfOrglven.4! Cooper thought that a while the film was in production The Film Daily reported their visit with good solid Western with John Wayne would be a better bet for the pho1Ographs in its issue of 20 March 1956. Iran and Thailand. High Peaks. and in his autobiography. and Cheyenne (1947). Cooper became a pilot in World War I and was shot down and » American Theme or Story. After the war Cooper and Ford published in 1977. and prior to The Searchers Cooper had been formed at an early age. mostly in redskins'. he optioned a story that Guy. including Wild West in Madison Square Garden.Whitney Pictures were to five Westerns: 3 Godfathers.. Cooper. with him to participate in Pioneer Pictures.Whitney had originally the company was wound up in December 1959. Selznick's Gone with the Wznd.V. calling it 'just another Western'. In the 20s he was a cousin of John Hay 'Jock' Whitney. nose.Whitney recounts how an interest in the West had 10gether formed Argosy Pictures. who in the mid-30s had persuaded Western specialist. 39 C. time by the Russians. though whether his appearance survived the eutting room Collzer's magazine In 1940 he became a screenwriter. when he was taken 10 see Buffa10 Bill Cody's been co-producer with Ford on eight films in as many years. a kind of captivity narrative in rever se. Jock became American ambassador to Britain. befare Cooper succeeded afterwards was Assistant Secretary of the Air Force under Harry Selznick as head of production at the studio. filmed in 1960 by 42 43 . Chuck Roberson says Ford ordered him to stage a fistfight at dinner had begun to appear in the Saturday E vening Post in November 1954. DeMille.. as well as numerous stories. as they say. 40 Wést Mounted PoÜee and other films for Cecil B. In his au1Obiography. where he (") UJ Polo-playing Cornelius Vanderbilt 'Sonny' Whitney was the was decorated by the Polish leader.V. According to Dan Ford. directed by Raoul Walsh. based on Civil War stories by James Warner Bellah..Whitney Pictures.V..

anything about the period. In 1947 Nugent had written a profile of Ford for the Saturday book. Clayton is largely an invention of the film. calling it 'a motion picture that sings a marry her... very dosely with the writer or indeed formidable. He told Lindsay Anderson how he carne to write scripts: Powers. and the implication is that he will eventually enthusiastic review of Stagecoach. After the anide was finished I dropped in to see him one day and he Most of the memorable lines in the film are in the script. an action which expresses both the youthful high spirits of the couple in contrast to Nugent went on to write eleven films for Ford in all. I've been thinking about young Lieutenant Greenhill befare the attack on the Comanche village it . killed by a Comanche woman during an attack on their camp. 'The Cavalry. you better:by God read my mind . there is a character named Mose Harper in the Ford. named Amos Edwards.. Amos does not have a mysterious or shady pasL And instead of bringing Debbie home. though Amos is in love with his brother's wife neither she nor her XIV husband is aware of this.' 42 throwing water over him after he thinks she's left the room.. telling the men Sometimes he is groping. He has a wonderful ear for dialogue and bossiness... over everything the threat of Indians. There's sorne song of camera' . Nugent made a number of :P white family.. I don't think it would be entirely true to say that he sees the story speech about the future of Texas is in the script. In a11 there 's no way of telling whether they originated with Ford or Nugent. an aged buHalo hunter..THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o r John Huston with Audrey Hepburn as an Indian girl brought up with a LeMay's novel wasn't holy writ.. they give at least as good as they geL Mrs Jorgensen's writers. people with their own (given to a character named Clinton in the book): 'And don't pay them personal problems. nor is her husband's comment. you know'. remote. and then it rides off again. his name was changed apparently because of its comic association with the popular radio show Amos 'n' Andy.. Originally. There are actions which are not detailed in the script and which we Later he sent me down into the Old Apache country to nose may assume Ford himself created on the seL Look for example at the around When I got back Ford asked me if I thought I had enough sequence when Ethan and Marty return to the Jorgensens' ayear or so research. During the early 40s Nugent was hired by Darryl amalgamation of characters: in the book there are two Indian chiefs.for example Clayton's speech to the train or whatever.. as if in explanation of her quite know how to develop it. like a musician who has a theme but doesn't it's time for bed. . he'd written an Marty to rescue Debbie.. Zanuck at 20th Century-Fox as a script-doctor.. 'Good. induding sorne of the gravitas of Ethan. not them childish savages. and there he first met Bluebonnet and Scar.although he sometimes pretends to.. The Jorgensen women are told Lindsay Anderson: 'Ford works very. but not her putting away in its entirety when he begins . Amos is Ford's choice of scriptwriter for The Searchers was Frank Nugent. ' does come later in the script (and is repeated in the film)..45 but not Laurie you've read and we '11 start writing a rnovie. He gave me a list of aim to raise no two hollers on any one subject in hand. in the book Laurie does not wait for him. I said yes.I don't stammered he grinned and said ir would be fun. that 'she used to be a schoolteacher. neither .'44 about 50 books to read . It's left to Originally the movie critic of the New Yórk Times. westerns the Cavalry rides in to the rescue of the beleaguered wagon and sorne are in the original novel. and sorne minor ones. the hero was (fJ (fJ back.' he said.43 In the o (fJ novel. novels..what it was like at a Cavalry post. If you my seat by asking how I'd like ro write it for him.. I'm the hard death ' I said it sounded great. That rernark a lot of it is his own. He rnakes all the running in the relationship.. but not as a piece 44 45 .just keep your eye on me. Marty's bath is scripted.. When I stumbled and don't hear me first time I holler.memoirs. And then he knocked me right oH case you're up against around here. and the extent to which Laurie is the one who his most personal works such as Wagon Master and The Quiet Man . Violence erupts when her Kiowa kinfolk come to take her significant changes.... 'Now just forget everything after the death of Brad. the liquor jug with a firmness that brooks no argument. Marty is not part-Indian. though started talking about a picture he had in mind. but Mose in the film is more like the novel's character of Lige Evening Post. of Comanches no mind..

. Miss good. As Marty and Ethan prepare for bed. Marty may be gauche. as he stumbles to make out the words (this lack of schooling will again be MARTIN brought to our attention when he reads out Ethan's will).. Laurie comes to say you and me been going steady since we was three years old. Laurie! ...or at the Western general1y towards the door.. Come . the junior partner in the relationship with Laurie. worth considering back and plants a kiss on Marty's mouth. TORGENSEN's VOleE Marty: Wel1. and as she passes Ethan Laurie grabs the letter from him and completes readingit.' (J) Futterman's letter has been added.. Similarly. simply an explanation oí why she is a good reader. she masks her emotion Ford has often been found wanting in his depiction oí sexual in exasperation. the one who.. Heartbroken that Marty puts his Torgensen'. and Laurie. then stands over him.. Martin Pawley.. Her impa- again she looks at him with a confident nod oí her head and says... enters. the Reverend Clayton being tended far a wound in his embrace and kisses her. when she moves back when charges of racism are thrown at Ford .46 But there is considerable delicacy in the scenes between Marty comic and moving. which capture the awkward and hesitant emotions oí those the sheer complexity of response achieved by mingling comedy with for whom deep feelings are not often or easily expressed. at night Mr Edwards'.. Delighted at fina11y eliciting such a positive backside caused by the inexpertly wielded sword oí the young army 46 47 . then suddenly grabs her in a stiff broad comedy. ill- Good night ... gosh. Laurie next. gives Good night.. There's another example at the end oí the film.' the realisation that Marty.. but this is contrasted ETHAN with the relative moral stature of the two. little ver sed in affairs of the heart. and says not merely 'good night'.. plucking up courage. Now.. as in the script. she kisses him back enthusiastica11y. Laurie moves prejudices. then. response. The next day pathos or tr agedy. Ford loved the mixture oí emotions. Ford was Marty: You know Laurie. but 'good night.. sees clearly that Debbie can and must be saved... final1y pushing him back over the settle. though in the script (and in the film) (J) he períarms the same act when Laurie later reads Marty's letter. powerful irony in the fact that Marty is the one person in the film oí mixed She looks across at him.. educated... huh? Several other bits oí business are added to the sequence at the Laurie (drawing herself up to her ful1 height): Wel1. and his bashfulness in lave.. the mock formality a tribute to her boldness.. Debbie. Laurie... she suddenly turns race..... 'Good tience is a cover far the powerful emotions she is struggling to control. him the letter from Futterman. None of this is in the script. (cal1ing) what with al1 this trouble with Debbie and Ethan . She wants to kiss Martie but is shy in Ethan's presence and hurries out. 47 She asks him if he slept welL the ki11ing of Scar and the rescue oí Debbie is immediately fa110wed by Awkwardly he edges towards her. come! Ethan opens the door.. The action is both relations. Jorgensens'. in which Laurie is in her apron when Marty appears. as ií to say '1 don't mind ií you did see me kiss him... it's about time you and (") (J) never reluctant to repeat a joke if it was good enough. 1 was just thinking....THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") oí comedy.. There is a away fram Marty towards the door. goodnight. Laurie ... when she is ca11ed out oí the room by her father... me started going steady. a 'half-breed' in Ethan's casua11y insulting term.. What is added is Marty's near-illiteracy.. there is a firmness to her step.. her back to us as she passes Ethan.. while a11 around him are driven by their In the film. Mister Edwards . In the script: Marty: We have? Laurie: 'Bout time you found out about it. but he is the still moral centre of the film. It shows him as Good night . whom she believes has come back to her far Ethan is amused. wel1. The film shows a nice contrast between LAURIE Marty's firmness in the face oí Ethan's murderous intentions towards Yes. I've always been fond of you but. Pa! Good night Martie [sic] . care for his adopted sister befare his feelings far her. is determined to set off afi:er Ethan.. Like Shakespeare..... eyes r » the business oí Mr Jorgensen putting on his spectacles when Ethan reads shining: '1'11 get your coffee.

. the script.a threat which she makes good by accepting Charlie con~ede. then. and 75% to Whitney up to a gross of $5. Ethan. XVI The letter Jorgensen gives Ethan is from a trader named Jerem xv Futterman. According to Dan Ford..Whitney Pictures until production costs were paid off. an unusual strategy in the Western. literacy no: improved. who soon after was contracted by Alfred Hitchcock for The Wrong explO1tatlOn " O~ce gross receipts topped $5. aH rentals on the picture would arnves at the Jorgensens' with a letter. who has info:mation on Scar's for whom the previous year Ford had made The Long Gray Line" In a whereabouts. As Ta~ Gal1agher has observed. head of Columbia.48 The scene between Matty and Laurie concludes. Later that mght.Varners agreed to spend atleast $500. while. '1 ain't cut outto In the event.. he shoots them al1 in the back as they try to run away.v. much as in complaining that ~hitney seemed to want to get his money out first. still suspicious which side of the law independent production. 25% of further rentals she holds m her hand appears to be optimistically addressed 'Laury would go to Columbia. Futterman and fí:iends attempt to the production finance. had no such difficulties. but as soon as the (J) The scene ends on a close-up of Laurie leaning on the hitching rail negative was handed over Warners would reimburse the ful1 cost up to weeping as Marty gallops past her. Ford himself was to receive a flat fee of her to the minor role of Janet Leigh's sister in Psycho as a Ford. estimated at $2. and gave her another excellent part in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Jorgensen. (At the end all aspects of picture-making had been loosened by the rise of so-caHed of the film the Reverend Clayton. when the studios' previously total grip on mcetles.T H E S EARe H E RS BFI FILM (") lieutenant. has misspelled her name as Laury (the env~lope after Columbia's distribution costs had been paid. and was to receive an advance of his next picture. tells him there's a charge against him relating to manoeuvred to change their status as salaried employees and cut Futterman's death" The issue is never resolved since Lieutenant themselves a slice of the profits" There were negotiations with Columbia. Texas')" As Laurie reads out loud. readmg of Marty s account of Ethan's actions. Whltney would meet aH the costs of production. Charlie McCorry production costs. former 'Tarzan' 50:50" It w~s wn~ten into the dis~ribution agreement that John Wayne Gordon Scott. which could be that Columbia paid aH production costs. revenues would be split is co~plex.000. which he clearly has 48 49 . to use the tltle of a 50s Columbia picture. with Marty in pursuit. . not overly concerned with legal arrangement by the mid-50s.000 they were to be split Man. Warner Bros" offered what Columbia were reluctant to (J) be no old maid' .000 for distribution. It seems Hitchcock never forgave her. Greenhill bursts in with Mose. Cooper. a deal in which Whitney was guaranteed to get his money back.v. goes to seek out While a script was being prepared.000. sent a rather pained cable.000. wasn't Born Yesterday" » (J) in tears. not only do we get Laurie's 50:50" Harry Cohn. Hitchcock was enraged that she hadn't saved herself for would rece1ve 10 % of gross rece1pts.nd Marty (on a set rather too obviously constructed in the the film and then split the proceeds" It was a common enough S~Ud1?) Ethan lS too smart for them. she tells him she can'tpromise to waitany longer. would distribute amb~sh Ethan a.000 plus 10% of the net..w~o encloses a scrap of calico that Mrs Jorgensen confirms is from Debb1e s apron.. in which established stars and other talent Ethan operates on. then afi:er recouping usually favours more direct narrative methods" At this point the narration these costs and another $850. in which she once again plays John Qualen's daughter. Vertigo. It's an affecting performance by Vera $2. fí:om Matty to Laurie" Martv his go to C.000..000. with Laurie giving Marty her horse to chase after Ethan.50?. we have a flashback to the after which Columbia's share would climb to 30% An alternative deal scenes the letter recounts.Whitney Pictures would put up sorne of for Ethan s money. (") McCorry's proposal before Marty can return. The trader is a susp~cious-looking character who is greedy one of the major studios" C. the studio would put up the rest. When she got pregnant by her new husband.) memo Cooper sent to Columbia he proposed that if Whitney paid " Immediately afi:er the death of Futterman.0~0. . 49 $125.000 on 'advertisi~gand Miles. relegating $250. Cooper attempted to set up a deal with Futterma~.. however.200.

Barbara. 'Look' deserts. by a really rather have this gormless bumpkin than wait for Marty? lf so it white actress. It's a good question whether we. and Marty eventually catch up with her . So is Ethan himse1f. Do you know politically correct. in Jeffi:ey Hunter's unse1fish and more than a stereotype) She is good-natured to a fault... who plays the role.52 Ford heard him using it in fun on Doubtless because to a patriarchal society an lndian man marrying a the set and liked it so much he demanded he play the role that way. he literally kicks Festus in the long-running TV Western series Gunsmoke. of course. His exaggeratedly hick are also hugely amused. we are presented beaming lndian woman. he implies. Marty's discomfiture would not be nearly so makes Laurie less sympathetic than she otherwise appears. a more caring response. he has bought a blanket from a stout. represents the voice of decency. Harry Carey Jr describes the accent when he regards Debbie's union with an lndian with such revulsion? Curtis uses as 'Colorado dryland'. It challenge.. (Ethan with a sneer translates. the audience. no one has yet claimed Ford as premature1y to the highest bidder. Ethan regards the episode as a huge joke. And yet she is the one you.. In laughter. But the accent her out of bed. Were she an exotically sexualised lndian maiden such as makes it hard to take Charlie seriously as a suitor to Laurie. was a life..55 Perhaps.51 throws his letter in the fire . Like Ethan.. she's just not plausible as a sexual partner.. making coffee. He be1ieves that in exchange for two blue silk rosettes ('Lard leaves an arrow of stones to indicate her direction. a UJ recriminations on Marty's apparent indifference to her fee1ings . and (') are listening to her: her father and mother. the standard willing to take on whatever identity Marty requires. But it's surely also because the woman countering Curtis' protests with the argument that it would get him he laughingly refers to as 'Mrs Pawley' is plump and home1y. her father and Charlie McCorry UJ Charlie McCorry is a strange creation. In an lndian village 50 51 . we are soon sorry for it.. Following. and the varying reactions of those who insult to herself. But why is Ethan able to make a joke of it.. she retorts: guffaw along with Ethan as Marty's foot prope1s his 'wife' down the 'Fetch what home? The leavings a Comanche buck sold time and again side of the hill. and a For Charlie and Mr Jorgensen. giving her Comanche name as persists in his mission.. Laurie takes it as a deliberate UJ how old does he think l am?!').. he doggedly fine.. white woman is more threatening. right. married to his daughter. it's simply funny that Marty has member of The Sons of the Pioneers singing group. how could such a plain girl have Ethan's murderous intento For most of the film's length..) So sorne groundwork is established for clear-sighted view of Ethan. Marty has a such a fancy name.. as Laurie reads the letter. not just to find Debbie but to rescue her from 'Wild Goose. appearing on 'married' an lndian woman. since Carey says it he1ped Curtis land the role of have made camp she dutifully lies down beside Marty. and when afi:er they seems to have worked. sympathetic performance. Charlie seeing an opportunity to pursue his own accent and quaint vocabulary ('1'11 thank you to unhand my fiancée') suit.too late.. undermined. Mistaking Marty's expostulatory 'Look' as a constantly cut down to size as young men usually are in the Western vocative. member of Ford's inner circle. Ethan type hog') and a hat for her father. Only when she trails after him does he realise he r p both with Laurie's response to this (which includes several heartfelt has purchased her as a wife. Martha would want him to. with savage brats of her own? . She's not a noticed in the thank1ess role of the guy who doesn't get the girl.. l tell find her physical attributes funny in themse1ves. Ken Curtis.. 54 Laurie who has the most explicitly racist speech in the entire film. encouraged by Laurie's father ('A man should get married early in make him a figure of fun.. Would she the one James Stewart falls for in Broken Arrow (played. are supposed to When Marty says he must go and fetch Debbie home.. As the audience of the scene. Marty attempts to trade with sorne attempt to press her for information about Scar. Debra Paget).. Mama?').. But in his letter to Laurie Marty describes. Flying in the Night Sky'. Terrified by their flashback. but Comanche. One has a sneaking suspicion that we 're meant to what Ethan will do if he has a chance? Put a bullet in her brain. even to the extent against which Ethan's actions are judged. and if we do indeed succumb to Ethan's coarse and we actually see... though it is great: but doubtless Ethan's would be greater. screen with them in Rio Grande.. a disturbing and uncomfortable occurrence. '53 lndian character who is given any sort of individuality (Scar is bare1y Throughout the picture Marty. and Charlie.. of changing her name. that Marty should marry an lndian instead of her.'Just further opportunity to humiliate Marty. she replies in Comanche that if he wishes to call her that it's (Ethan variously calls him blanket-head or chunk-head). Ridiculed.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (') trouble making sense of.

befare they see the captives Ethan and Marty intrude on the general in charge.. and the The sequence which follows is significantly different from Frank final image is of him riding towards the Jorgensens' house.. colorfui character.. Towards the end of the film. but in the film this is changed to In an valuable essay on the variations between script and film. Ethan cannot let the matter go" When he is shooting at the 1. perhaps ir would contemptuous of his hollow victory against women and children. befare the incident with Futterman. and is of the story. However.and. in the script Ethan is far more explicitly racist in his seen Ethan opposing Custer. Fur collar . things are not quite as Custer should be in a magnificent army overcoat . . and shows the extent of Ethan's XVII murderous obsession. In the film. 'Ain't that too 52 53 . 'That's the Indian in you'). Ethan's adulterous passion for his brorher's wife is emphasised more buffalo.. It's more personal. and film which make Ethan 'darker and more disturbed'59 Principally... This is not in the script. and the scalping displaced to the Eckstein argues that the omission oí this scene (there 's sorne indication it end..'60 the Indians during the cavalry attack.62 This scene is absent in the very first version misapprehension that he has been fighting Cheyenne. (Ji (Ji to go and kill her for. Ethan and Marty arrive at of the house. deliberately killing them to deny the Indians food. whose present it was.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") r attacked by the Seventh Cavalry they find her body..' Exactly so. Ford had a major role in shaping) 'As to General Custer. In the script. afi:er all. however.... ' Another note (15 February 1955) calls him 'an Rangers find buried under sorne stones while first chasing Scar: 'the arrogant phoney. Ethan shooting out the Indian's eyes. which had earlier received sorne forceful input from sense. is darker than in LeMay's original novel. At the end of the script Ethan is holding Debbie. 'It's Look. have been inappropriate for a family magazine.. should wear a small sealskin cap ala [sic] a Russian Grand Duke curious. the one whom the . There is no Nugent's script.. of Ethan being excluded.... who is asleep. is braid ... as there is in the finished film.. shut out Ford himself. Custer had a Comanches believed that the spirit of a scalped warrior had to wander screen star's love oí publicity. this would surely sofi:en our view of him as an for a half-breed'. In LeMay's novel Amos does scalp an Indian... Ethan enters Scar's tent after he has been any harm. » Ethan. 'She never done nobody 2. with real tenderness in his voice... In the script. a great showman and wholly inept soldier. but a memo fram Ford dated 26 January 1955 identifies him: the Ethan oí the script (which. 'What did those soldiers have though the script does make clear the nature of their relationship. when Marty says he thinks they're these are: being followed. Make him an arrogant. the Saturday Evening Post serialisation. for instance.. Had we Furthermore. just as the script. killed by Marty and scalps him.' says Clayton observes Ethan and Martha's mutual affection is not scripted. Eckstein (") (Ji rightly says that within the Western this is a highly transgressive act for a white man to perform. who is On the whole this is persuasive.'57 Ethan correets the general's forever between the winds'. Ethan remarks amiably.. Arthur M. Eckstein believes the film's ending indicates that 'Ford is the fort and are shown sorne white captives who have been rescued fram punishing him for his savage racism. The scalping oí the pointing out that the Indian men were absent from the camp. entombed Indian is retained in the script.. Ethan makes only two further references in the film to unregenerate racist" Marty's racial origins ('What does a quarter-breed Cherokee know about Eckstein details a number of other differences between script the old Comanche trick oí sleeping with his bestpony tied by his side?' . After his initial remark 'fellow could mistake you Custer has massacred. where it is inflicted on Scar.S6 The general is not named in character than the Ethan oí the script/ 1 and a more complex one. and implicitly supporting the Indians whom attitude towards Marty.. Ethan sneers. Ethan?' exclaims Marty. 3. Marty protests strongly in the film . gold clear-cut as Eckstein asserts" The issue of the scalping. in a series of memos. but does it make may actually have been shot)58 is evidence that Ford considerably Ethan a darker character? darkened the character of Ethan from the original conception.. The Ethan of the finished film is a darker boasting oí his victory to sorne journalists. The word1ess scene in which the Reverend that 'peaceful tribes depend on the buffalo too' ..

.. played with the Wind (1939) is probably his best known fi:om that era. two drinks an' .. Steiner soldier of the South. perhaps "The Yellow Rose of time you develop a village.. and like his at a reflective. but because he fights only women and children: 'Next theme that is completely haunting . scoring Gmarron (1930). with lyrics by the Reverend HD. af1:er a1l. He was in Hollywood almost as outwards and we see Martha gazing into the distance.... Again 1 say.. people.. Max Steiner's score connection to the fi:ustrated passion of Ethan and Martha: modulates the melody into a sweetly lyrical passage for strings laid across a trade-mark Ford long-shot of Ethan and Marty outlined against the We loved each other then.. achievements.' song . we may notice that though Young or [Richard] Hageman. Laurie is song written in 1857. they have a clear thematic Lou' . ATTENTIüN AU!' The seores of Ford's Westerns place heavy reliance on traditional XVIII tunes. after a1l. Ethan remarks flippantly: 'Well. his contempt for the research should be done exhaustively throughout the classics of the arrogant general is not because he kills Indians.. though his epic score for Gone Flag'. based on 'Lorena'. In the script there is no such feel. such contracts were hard to find. films. 1 think this is very important. we hear 'Martha's soon as sound itself. hititwhere the fightin' men are ..LWebster and overcome with sorrow that Marty has no words of love in his letter: '1 music by lP.. and tenderness in the (J) action of rubbing the snow fi:om her hat..63 This should not be done lightly but Ethan does stand up to Custer in the scripted encounter.. As the door opens to conduct musicals for Florenz Ziegfeld. for all his o voice when he calls Marty's attention to the body. horizon at sunset The years pass. a Her father picks it up proprietorially and puts it in his pocket. you're a widower now... The lyrics te1l of a lost love. Lorena.. Worse. Ethan. fi:om which. and by the mid-50s Steiner.' And eyesight was failing. Right now he's the fly in the buttermilk. we derive our American folk music ... which became one of the most popular tunes of the don't care if he never comes back..' Mrs Jorgensen tells Charlie he must Civil War. Steiner found just the theme Ford was looking for in 'Lorena'. Though redolent of a peculiarly mid-Victorian blend behind Laurie and singing a few bars of the traditional air 'Skip to my of masochistic suffering. the kind of music most people associate with Hollywood in its heyday. More than we ever dared to tell 64 Steiner was the master of the lushly melodic orchestral film score. together with "Bonnie Blue Flags" . when Look is discovered dead in a long-ter m contract with the studio.. and Steiner had » with that squaw wife of yours.. If you feel that sorry for your kinfOlk I'm surprised you didn't take up Distant Drums (1951) .. world. his ing Instead. As Ethan great rival Dimitri Tiomkin he specialised in Westerns. in the history of a Laurie completes her reading of the letter which recounts these events. Pursued.' In the film. he studied under Mahler before emigrating to Broadway is first heard in the opening sequence after the credits. was leading the precarious life of a fi:eelance. "The Ye1low Rose of Texas" is.. But in the shake-out in the 50s (J) (J) the camp attacked by the army. the Confederate cavalry song Ford himself had suggested. Steiner's masterly fusion of musical motifs drawn fi:om different sources Born in Vienna.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o bad.. American or sometimes Irish folk songs They help give them their particular flavour. mindful of his opportunity he readily agrees.. blighted by a conflicting but stay for supper. in the scripted scene in the Mexican cantina. Marty (who has several more Ford had definite ideas about what he wanted. as does his dialogue. sidling up undefined 'duty'. They Dzed with Their Boots On (1941). the former only Western to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. You won't get Texas" might be it . and heard over the credits: 'What makes aman to wander?' Ethan's action 54 55 ... our theme any headlines for killing squaws. played by soft strings. ' Finally. there is unmistakable emotion in Ethan's following the divorcement of the studios from their theatre chains. Thesewere all Warner Bros. death and religiosity. root them. In a memo of 28 drinks than he does in the film) is dismissed by Ethan with the remark 'You January 1955 he wrote: 'Let's not have it written overnight by Victor breeds are all alike. lilting pace in keeping with 'Martha's Theme' . memorably bends to kiss Martha. there is a musical phrase fi:om the song we have Dodge City (1939). the first and untill990 the Theme'.. which Ethan has no princi. find a pled objection to. rides closer and the melody changes to 'Bonnie Blue worked fi:equently with Ford in the 30s.Webster.

where Doc Boone throws his whiskey in the Maximilian in Mexico. who also Texas' at the dance before the wedding oí Laurie and Charlie (Ford's has a significant role in FortApache and in The Fugitive. '69 Then a handwritten aside: 'Mexican Saddle. 56 57 . intimation oí the massacre. Lorena/Alas! 1 care not to repeat. wearing a sombrero.. Ethan's in a fetching shade Spanish ('mas frijoles'). 'Garry Owen'. traditional role of the western woman as bringer oí culture. or whom John Wayne poignantly of all when at the end Ethan picks Debbie up in his arms: was to meet in The Comancheros. in front oí which is hitched a horse the original version . makes aman to wander?'.. practically Ford's personal anthem. It's a measure of just how cruelly Ford's later Western. 71 Other the song Custer ordered his band to play at the Massacre of the Washita. centres on the rescue from Ethan tears apart the fabric oí the little soeiety oí Texans that he twice Indians oí a Mexican woman (played by Linda Cristal. above and below the border. the one reminding us oí the question: 'What way'. a serape over the back oí the saddle. In a memo oí 10 Marty's tequila on the fire.' Ethan says.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o supplies the answer. the sequence ends with a brieí reprise of . Ethan and Marty are Marty sits down to Mexican food. beans and tortillas. 65 his head. looms large in the that past.though revoiced) While Ethan and Figueroa talk. most delicately. a 'John' hat on » 'Martha's Theme' as she precedes him into the house.W. ofren with a placket-front (buttons up Mexican for Scar. Martha and her family. maybe even 'south oí the border. The bearded man is dressed in Mexican finery: red embroidered velvet jacket. It's a gesture previously February 1955 Ford suggested that Ethan 'may have served with encountered in Stagecoach. 'The Yellow Rose of in 3 Godfiuhers is played by the Mexican star Pedro Armendariz. a testimony to the Figueroa. 68 Inside we discover Mose. his face full oí foreboding with an man is a Comancher% a Mexican who traded with the Comanche. and 'Gather at the River'. it's played. As the Reverend Clayton watches Martha stroke Ethan and Marty are introduced to Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y o (J) Ethan's coat.. Ford Westerns have a strongly Hispanic flavour.' 'Martha's Theme' and the main title song are the Hispanic hinterland. where it explodes. and nowhere more so than in Ford's films. a woman appears and does a few twirls to XIX the rhythm of her castanets. ' But in the event... Graham Greene 's novel about a Mexican priest.. up till off to meet Cicatriz.. the song sung to Laurie by Charlie McCorry. rest oí the movie. the hymn tune that was The Power and the Glory. Ethan and the Mexican converse in Spanish. As he calls for a better quality tequila. on a spinet.. Clementine. Ethan announces he 's of pink one suspects he wouldn't be seen dead wearing in Texas. sombrero. Ford's version of own suggestion). down Mexico constant refrains of the film. One of the leading roles used over the sequence oí the cavalry in the snow.'67 Western. Charro spurs. the other supplying the answer: 'The story of The Southwest.. Finally. punctuating his remark by throwing both sides). it's reprised when Debbie runs down the sand though in The Searcher:s they don't have the fearsome aspect oí those dune towards Marty near the end of the film. and perhaps most Clint Eastwood meets in The Outlaw}osey Wales. an Argentinian interrupts this sacred song. them. tight-fitting trousers. and at the wedding. where whole sections oí dialogue are in Spanish. (J) (J) 'Martha's Theme' will be heard in many contexts throughout the none of this Mexican influence is evident until this late scene.66 1t's played a veteran who had begun with D. at the ritual occasions of the funeral of who originally made her name in Mexican cinema). EIsewhere I've Steiner makes plentiful use oí other traditional material: 'Skip to remarked on the Hispanic references in Stagecoach and My Darling my Lou'. in fact much oí the scene is conducted in Spanish (at this point the The softly lyrical shot oí Ethan and Marty riding at sunset dissolves to Spanish-Ianguage version oí the film simply reproduces the dialogue of the outside oí a Mexican cantina.. a dignified Mexican with a beard (played by Antonio Moreno. A production memo suggests this towards the Edwards' ranch. and suspender s (braces in England). 'Cicatriz is now he 's worn a blue or a red shirt. in which case his clothes have a Mexican touch to fire . 'Never heard of him. Two Rode Together. But certainly we are now deep into the 'Let's go home Debbie.Griffith and had played leads on solo violin in a minor key as we see Ethan in close-up looking back opposite Gloria Swanson and Garbo).' Marty says. though only up to a point. He too can get by in both wearing wide straw hats and check shirts. jingling silver spurs..

years as a Comanche captive. not education. or Apache. attack (another futile frontal assault) . he says. Western movie there were calls in the film trade press for more accurate Only death. blouse and purple skirt. magical scenery of any American picture. Hollywood wanted stories... he has taken many white scalps. that is" Debbie appears over the top of a sand dune as Ethan and these years. Totem Pole. since 'she's been living with a buck'" Ethan's is a particularly wlth lFolves .. she looks remarkably well-groomed.. It is to be hoped that some of our o capture Marty's interest (in the script she succeeds. BFI FILM THE SEARCHERS o r The Hispanic flavour of the scene is perhaps no more than the While we still have the real Indians with us. the film is not really interested in the details of Debbie 's life with the which he does. the Comanche pole with hair dangling fí:om it is thrust before them. passing overhead. playing opposite favourite shot of Ford's from the silent days. Scar's wives.. For each one.. But Ethan has stopped his ears back of the tepee. From time to being 'without any blood kin'. the representative films be produced. is leaving his property to Marty. 58 59 . making them at once illustrative and (j") (j") tortillas.. with silver conch belt. Ethan replies that she isn't any culture. Mick Gidley records in his book on Edward S. Broken Arrow.. characters.. Ethan draws his gun to kill her. lndians" We don't look to the Western for ethnography. 72 After the ritual exchange of hostilities ('Scar. the castanets. she is mere1y the object of the Monument Valley (the same site is used for the Cheyenne camp in search. But severe1y wounded. Ethan writes his wil1. As she runs down the slope we hear Figueroa gestures towards a group of four women sitting at the 'Lorena' once more on the soundtrack. is the one who redeems in 1911: her. 73 But unmistakably she is a white woman.. such is her Plain to see how you got your name ') they enter Scar's tent. 75 truly Texicans 'way out on a limb'. the virulent form of racism. Natalie Wood is dressed in a pinkish-brown ve1vet again. Anyone except Ethan and Marty catch sight of what they have been searching for all Ethan. by and detailed representations of lndian life.. that they are now outside their home territory. located in sorne of the most But the call fell on deaf ears. scalp" Scar orders one of his wives to show the white men his trophies. There at last beauty that anyone would sure1y wish to rescue her. the lndians abandon their attack. Curtis. He and Marty ride off.. the lndians mass for ornaments around her neck. as usual stumbling over the words" lt states that Ethan. killed against the siren call of kith and kin. appropriate1y. that the Comanche are her people now. are life . As Debbie begs Marty and Ethan to by whites. huh? forgotten her past. When Marty steps in front of her. or more recently Dances more. in the film he 's more (j") interested in the food) . he thinks.. He gives it to Marty to read. The taint of association with lndians is so foremost photographer of lndians.. cycle of tit-for-tat revenge will culminate in Ethan's taking of Scar's own a tragic ending to the tale threatens" It is prevented by a Comanche arrow. Scar dons his war bonnet. Holed up in the cave. on sorne sand dunes by a tall action.. the 'loose' woman who tries to historic recordets of this noble race of people. and they look up at in hot pursuit.. had done in the battle at the river.. The endless leave. 74 For someone who has spent fí:om under him. why cannot thoroughly » manipulation of recognisable. When time movies have attempted sorne insights into Native American Marty protests that Debbie is his kin.. as he Natalie Wood turned eighteen while the picture was being shot. a child star who had made a tilt towards a camera set in a pit in the ground.. A which takes Ethan in the shoulder. But it gives us a sense of just how far Ethan and Western manufacturers will yet produce a series of REAL Indian Marty have travelled. thin rock called. a successful transition to adult roles the year before. the half-breed who has no blood ties. and he and two companions ride full But she was aIready a seasoned performer.. When Scar's horse is shot James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause .. Moving Pleture lForld wrote contrast. can purge her of such contamination" Marty. braided hair and ludian When Ethan and Marty find cover in a cave.. No sooner have they found Debbie than they have lost her the woman holding it. And despite her protestations in the next scene that she has all but Cheyenne Autumn) . with their splendid physique and physical powets. Marty discuss their next move. Two of his sons are dead. conventional signs: the tequila. in the south-east corner of As a character Debbie bare1y exists. perhaps. Figueroa takes them to Scar's camp. that in the earliest days of the great that it overcomes the ties of blood between him and his niece. the sombreros.

since they are interrupted by a young cavalry they agree to fight outside. Laurie complains to soldiers set about each other in a bar. uncomfortable in brown derby hat and white XXI gloves.. A » xx Beauljfu/F~htEnsued (e 1899) (J) (J) (") When Ethan and Marty draw up once more outside the Jorgensens'. in which Marty once against them for the murder of Futterman.. John Wayne 's son. his status as outsider. a typica11y Fordian mix of comedy and pathos.. in objecting to Ethan's assertion that Lucy Clayton arrives to regulate the contest: 'No biting or gouging and no and Debbie may be dead. Wayne Sr and Ward he1ps Charlie off with his coat and hat.' In entertainment for all. Ford has him After the fight is over. 1 thought you knew that without me having to say of Nome piece by piece. It's a long- humorously. In an e1aborate display of etiquette.. Marty's method of fighting is Debbie. and in loved her... gave an unsurpassed exhibition of the art of farcical fisticuffs. the second his indomitable will. 'It isn't fair. Brad offered to fight Ethan. 'Looks like you two'11 have a lot to talk about.. (Why? Surely no one knows they are coming.. In the script he says: '1'11 thank ya to leave the room.... ' It's the third time he uses unorthodox . but the Reverend the catch-phrase.77 standing tradition in the Western. not least the ladies. 'Who's crying?' (another remark not in the script) . Frederic Remington.' cries Laurie) never to be resolved. the state capital. Clayton te11s Ethan and Marty they must remark. ' But. 'That'11 be the kicking either. but it provides good Comanche but he can't fight tears. Marty offers the traditional male defence down the ages: 'But North lO Alaska (1%0) Wayne and Stewart Granger take apart the town 1 always loved you. '1 wish you wouldn't cry..) Ethan's response is exactly the same as his reply in the previous scene to Marty's bitter outburst against his disowning of ritual ('spit over that piece of firewood ') . and the fight it. Laurie sobs. unsettling the youngster 60 61 . did a wedding dress. while Charlie conducts the Bond enjoy themse1ves immense1y in this scene. after an absence that may be months or years.' Laurie breaks down and cries. played by Pat Wayne. ) The first time the phrase asserts his Ford loved a comic fight.' Marty can fight between Marty and Charlie is a small-scale affair. in which a group of cavalry Ethan... Laurie. In the 1942 Western The Spoilers Marty that he only ever wrote one letter. Laurie. and even that didn't say he there's an epic fight between John Wayne and Randolph Scott. as usual enjoying Marty's discomfort. (Earlier. but when. Charlie makes an appearance. whose paintings While Ethan goes to investigate. and the third.. In the cavalry trilogy Victor McLaglen superior strength. 76 The party is to celebrate the wedding of Laude and Charlie. you done it again. This time Wayne is not involved. Marty wonders if perhaps the party is for them.he bites Charlie's leg. then his hand. where charges have been laid you to unhand my fiancée . But this business is fated more fa11s back over the settle ('Marty.. ' After an initial scuffie. Ethan and Marty arrive outside the Jorgensens' house. that sense of social be10nging which is at the heart of his film s. wishing to make the most of Charlie's dro11ness.. perhaps most movingly rendered in the 'dag-blasted good dance' at the half-built church of Tombstone in My Darling Clementine . Marty sees Laurie in her did so much to codify the stock situations of the Western narrative. Marty lieutenant.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM Frederic Remington.' says picture entitled A Beautiful Fight Ensued. his stiff formality contrasting with his hick accent: '1'11 thank accompany him to Austin.. As they embrace. In Ford 's films dances are an affirmation of the community. we (J) are in the middle of a dance..' day. '1 hope you die': 'That'11 be the day.' says Ethan dismissively.

it's more oí a poIe in Scar's camp. But though there's plenty of gunfire.. 'Yes. when Ethan and Marty arrive back at the anotheL Clayton gives the order: 'MounL' The lieutenant is slow to Jorgensens' we see them from inside the house. not one Indian is seen to be killed in Mose provides the infor mation they need to find ScaL The Rangers the attack. in 1953). he tells Debbie he 's come to shortly. Later. who has desire to reconstitute his adopted family . Ethan rides professes.' On protest he's fl:om inside the Edwards' house. 'Brethren. Ethan's face effort to dissuade him by revealing that it was his mother's scalp on the expressing . brushing aside Marty's attempt to stop him... his role oí captain with that oí biblical patriarch. Marty finds Scar's tenL Inside. Good bye. mount!' Clayton hollers..' he intones as the Indians attack) make him a sort oí tenL Seizing the lifeless body oí the chief. Cut to the Jorgensens' . Then at the Indian camp respond. ' take her away. There is a large close-up. as at the centre we watch a ledge (a feature in Monument Valley known as John Ford's Point). Ethan makes a last the scalp clearly visible in his hand. looking out Then we see Marty arrive allowed to stay. there 's a shot of him fl:om inside the store-house.. rocking contentedly on the Jorgensens' porch. who after all is in command. When Ethan and Marty are so often. Marty.' says Clayton. Once more Ford alternates comedy and high others in the film. closer to the camera. And there's the final shot oí the film. he rides his horse into Scar's thank thee. who has been captured by Scar but her mind since the last encounter is simply not explained.... son. We see what Ethan could fl:om within. Marty insists he be allowed to get Debbie out first. the Rangers run off the horses. leave us go amongst them. As as Ethan enters to discover the body oí Look. nor does anyone enter iL But it has a stylistic connection to back to the Rangers.. In the Comanche camp There 's no narrative motivation for this ShOL No one is in the cave Scar is disturbed by a noise. son. good work. we Knocking over a woman carrying a baby. staring into the distance. then nearly decapitates Clayton when he draws his at the house... Cut to the fleeing Debbie. Instead. Ethan riding forward.the very thing which Ethan somehow become detached from Marty in the confusion. The first shot oí the film is by Clayton: 'Good work. where Martha's Charlie and another Ranger (Chuck Roberson). attack. but Marty is quicker.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") r by constantly interrupting. turning and firing (") (f) rocking chair when he first arrives at the Edwards' ranch. he draws his bowie knife. He brings his rifle forward. Rangers wheel for another charge. after her. When Ethan arrives back afi:er the Indian The Rangers advance on foot. Ethan comer the defenceless girl. fl:om the waist down has been an echo of Ethan's own wandering.. thereby rendering the under Clayton assemble near the Comanche camp. Why she should have changed » The soldiers have discovered Mose. It's worth listing them. Things now move rapidly towards a conclusion.. But Scar has (f) (f) has escaped.. Mose 's search for the security of a rocking chair by the fire been alerted.. their flashes lighting up the screen. and later at the three shots from his Colt. overrules Ethan and allows a slope with Ethan in pursuiL There's a cut to a shot from within a cave. to be summarily dismissed eight other occasions. We see him at the opening of the tent. In a fast tracking shot and who had often been acted by Ford 's older brother Francis (who died the Rangers charge through the Comanche camp.. indeed. 'M-O-N-T-E. Mose is in a long tradition oí Fordian oddities. with women and children scattering. looking out at him from inside. Marty to precede them into the Comanche campo Marty is dropped over the sides oí the screen masked by dark rock. Ethan sits in the only.what? Not exactly hatred or determination. Scar is the only casualty. an action which sets up further comedy for the penultimate scene.. oí Brad and Lucy kissing. Mose is rewarded for his fidelity. Ethan at their head.. 62 63 . but Marty is motivated not by revenge but by his perplexed look as he gazes off screen. they go towards a cave and a shot frames them Cut again back to the Comanche camp. The young lieutenant turns up again.. chased by Scar's men.. The fool to Ethan's LeaL In the last scene. then Nesby and mutilated body lies. where Ethan makes it Comanche impotent clear he is calculating on Debbie being murdered the moment they attack.. of which more only imagine. Debbie runs down Clayton. his face focuses our thoughts... The scene ends with which has been attacked by the cavalry there's a shot from within a tepee.. We also have a similar shot sabre. Clayton and the lieutenant.' she whispers. it's personaL Ethan emerges fl:om the tent.. combining simpletons who are welcomed with Christian charity into the inner circle.. oh Lord. Ethan.. Will Marty be discovered? Then we cut looking out. and Ford uses such a composition on no fewer than drama. Mose 's frequent jokes ('That which we are about to receive. though in a good spirit: 'Just funning. drunks and Rangers.

whose wife and son appear in the film. bent over.. Cut to Mr s and of his gesture al! those years ago when he greeted her as a liule girl at the Mr Jorgensen. As he does so we hear The Sons of the Pioneers: moving yet bitterly ironic words in Ford. He sets her down in front of the Jorgensens. Ethan may have relented from his intention to murder running away fIom the camera towards the line of riders.' says Ethan.. Garry Jorgensen come out to stand on the porch. Cut to a shot of Laurie symbolic leve!. Laurie holds on to Marty's saddle. looking out... the star of Jorgensen hause...W.. instead of murdering her.' As usual.. 79 In a television interview with Kevin Brownlow. 81 No such explanations are needed. He moves aside to let them pass Code Office was nervous about this.. Lord where? which he ends up homeless. the censor missed the point Without the walks straight out into the desert The door clases on him. And now the last shot. Ethan would not be the last role Wayne played for Ford in But where. but he is aman doomed to wander. in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. a horse in the fúreground. who puts his hat on. astringent is poured on his backside. overcome with tears. then within the home. In each case the camera is positioned in a place of refuge. 'Let's go home... then runs forward . the soundtrack reprises apron. having lost the love of his life he burns down the house he was building A close-up of Mase. As he cradles her in his arms. it looks as though fúr a third time a place of safety will become a woman's tomb. ye11s in pain as some who take her inside. We dissolve to the porch of the that he performed the arm gesture as a homage to Harry Carey. He turns and avoid vulgarity. careful!y fúr her. besides their striking Harry Carey . vulgarity there would be no humour. fúr in two of these shots we are placed within a space that has been sacrilegiously defiled. isolating a figure in the frame. His left hand Clayton's wound is being treated will require great restraint in arder to comes across his body to hold his right arm at the elbow.80 Wayne explained Eight shots complete the film. The censor fIom the Production Marty and Laurie come fIom behind him. approach. with Debbie on his saddle in fIont of him. Debbie. There is no place fúr him Ethan. Cut back to the porch: Laurie comes out and stands ca11' . cast adrifi: into a His peace of mind he knows he'11 find rootless world. But it's n more than that. but as he moves forward. Mrs and Mr Ford's early Westerns. Behind is Marty.Griffith. picks up Debbie and raises her aloft. for him no 'peace of mind'. in the background five narrative explanations fúr Ethan's turning away. in which the body of a dead woman lies. surely the most lifting Debbie down. and she strives to reach the security of the cave. in a complete and unexpected reversal. womb-like space which offers a secure view to the world outside. in an exact repeat Clayton and the others. Cut to a shot of Ethan dismounting and 'Martha's Theme' . when the Joad Go searching way out there family depart from the liule shack they cal! home. his trousers about his knees..78 Al! Ford's films are about home: finding it.. Or ought to.. At the head is Debbie.. composed Looking fIom the dark interior of the house we see Ethan Befúre the final scene there's one more instalment of comedy.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM Wayne's homage lo What have al! these shots got in common. losing it.. feet astride. the act is deeply satisfying at a centre frame fúr a moment. on which sits Mose. (J) a dark.. rocking in his chair. Then he stands on the porch. Ethan stoops. But. as Ethan runs down Debbie in order to kil! her. At the pivotal moment in the film.. No Aman will search his heart and soul scene is more affecting than that in The Grapes of Wrath. carrying Debbie. such as 'new duties riders approaching.82 64 65 .p framing? The effect is not unlike the iris shot so beloved of early silent (J) (J) directors such as D. Ride away.. Clayton.. 'The handling of the scene in which into the house.. oh Lord. Cut to a shot Wills rightly takes Tag Ga11agher to task fúr trying to offer plausible across some water. he gesturing with his pipe as she covers her head with her Edwards' ranch. Ethan looks to join them.. building it.

545. grossing outsize divining-rods or mine detectors and get them to parade town $5. Despite her influence with Paul Schrader. but in was warmly received by the criticso Bosley Crowther in the New York Joel Finler and David Pirie's list of all-time Western champs. (Of this $1. the panoramas of buttes and mesas. an excellent result. The Searchers comes seventeenth in the taking issue only with those scenes shot in the 'obviously synthetic table. Every year called it 'a Western of the first rank . there have since been not without sorne misgivings" Yáriety called it an 'exciting Western in the other dissenting voices. The Searcher:s. though in general it was enthusiastic. be detailed by mere words" Its scope is simply little to say in favour. in which Times said it had 'the toughness of leather and the sting of a whip'. and all through' . as the consensus has built that this is one of the The trade press had aIready pronounced the film a success. figures are adjusted for inflation. Ford's comedy had to find her' was the strap line for the posters."" You can read a lot reservations. Warners got behind it with enthusiasmo Southwest to compare with it. the beauty.90 surroundings of the studio stage'. The Los Angeles Times was equally appreciative. In newest John Wayne-John Ford classic of the old West. long a champion of Ford.413. though sorne of the was clearly a matter of taste. but it isn't very enjoyable. and observed that female interest in the recorded the theme song for Capitol Records" 'He had to find her.84 when it was published. in Technicolor and Vista Vision [sic]. calling the film 'one of the greatest of the great pictures of into it. while the Los Angeles Examiner was quite carried away: XXIII The grandeur. Pauline if the film was a trifle too long.. and beauty I can think of no picture of the lndian Wars of the ("') Once the film was completed.. the sweep and the tragic horror of the In the contemporary chorus of praise. one voice stood out in dissent. starkly beautiful ever seen in a Western film" The majestic rock Ethan is 'an unmistakable neurotic'. and the 66 67 .147.13 by 30 November 1957. he asserted).85 But it wondered Scorsese and other American film-makers of their generation.'87 The reviewer singled out the 'hilarious' (f) A new edition of Alan LeMay's novel was rushed out.mes It is nearly haH a century since The Searchers appeared. could find cannot. though great masterpieces of American cinema True. Worse. either complexity or consistency'" In Anderson's opinion the comedy the desert of New Mexico.. and Wayne's performance 'lacks formations of Monument Valley. are which follows the moments of high drama 'completely destroys any beyond description. Sight and Sound Lindsay Anderson. calling it 'peculiarly formal and stilted . Anderson was not inclined to revise his view that best Western I have seen in ten years'" Alan Brien in the Evening Standard it was 'not among John Ford's masterpieces'. For sheer scope.83 tension in the situation or characters' (Would he have said the same about the por ter scene in Macbeth?) Returning to the film in his book British critics agreed" Leonard Mosley in the Daily Express called it 'the A boutJohn Ford in 1981. Martin grand scale' and 'a contender for the big money stakes'. (f) (f) guts..86 The reviewer of Hollywood Reponer concurred: » XXII 'undoubtedly one of the greatest Westerns ever made.601. found Wayne's character perplexing and Kael never seems to have understood their fascination with The called the comedy 'labored'" Motion Pieture Herald had no such Searchers. Provide with The film performed creditably at the box office. o' o') The film foreign receiptso)89 Box-office figures are notoriously unreliable. The lines are often awkward. not narrative.. and Tex Ritter fight between Marty and Charlie.88 grandeur of the film ('Dress men in Western outfits. ooI could not rest until I had seen it since has rendered Anderson's view of the film even more eccentric than again.T H E S EARe H E RS BFI FILM ("') the American West'. he film is sustained by having Laurie react to Marty's letter. since the Film Daily reviewer found it suggestions in the press book for publicity stunts hardly matched the 'jarring'. both of the film's suspense and its humour. with justice.95 carne from pretending to search for something under the pavement.91 spoke of 'breathtaking grandeur' and Dilys Powell in the Sunday T. He objected that there was too much story (Ford's tremendous" Its motivation spine chillingly grim" Its setting the most most successful films rely on mood..

Ford does not shirk the structure. he both shows it had risen to ninth.Year of the Dragan.quite different fi:om ourS. Big Wednesday refers to the last scene. Pans.with a great culture of critics' favourite films. to make a film about the perennial American problem of race. and also allows that Taxi steady but compassionate. by general assent. and his early feature Who's That Knocking at My Doo'? has an warmth and companionship.... Dog Soldler:s. Yet who as the screen goes black does not extended passage of dialogue in which Harvey Keitel cross-questions a feel Ethan's tragedy? girl about The Searchers. They don't consider them as human beings . the true timbre of its emotions. in the coarse comedy of the fallen into an alien culture. in this case the world of pornography. The Emerald Fore.. his had on film-makers. 98 Only once. 93 But this is desire to make a statement is cIear: 'The audience likes to see Indians get o (/) very much a minority view. and complex experience'. Texas. 95 In 1991 the National Film Theatre in London presented a season of films infiuenced by The Searchers or related by theme. Scorsese's Mean Streets actually contains a clip of The stern judgement. as a monument no less conspicuous than the towers of stone which dominate its landscapes. The contradictions of Ethan's character. has a strikingly similar narrative Ethan has found love in his heart and not hate. In addition to the above titles it incIuded: UIzana's Raid. make it a touchstone of American cinema. and in 1992 to fifth. could it go even higher in 2002?94 Ethan far what he is. .st. and in The Wind and the Lion a soldier plays part of the score. More surprising.. and the film is often static': one of Kael's more cannot only be in terms of its beauty.. callow and evasive'. is the effect the film has it's the greatness of the film. The Searcher:s is one of those films by which Hollywood may be measured. a murderous racist. Majar Dundee. The door cIoses on him and shuts him out from human Searcher:s.. and Ford's own Two Rode Together. Yet even this can hardly be an exhaustive list% XXIV At the dawn of the second century of cinema The Searchers stands. has called lights. The Searchers was in seventeenth place. according to his (/) (/) Searchers to be 'a riveting. '97 Being Ford. perhaps. To sorne. At the end. In the 1972 Sight and Sound worldwide polI killed. though he allows The our eyes or feelings. just at the moment of truth when Dnver.92 David Thomson. which he scripted far Scorsese. Dances with Walves. Otherwise. In a 1979 articIe. does Ford's touch falter. as the him. his gaze is Schrader admits The Searchers as a source. cannot be cited eleven films which show evidence of infiuence. RolÜng Thunder. But the judgement of its worth 68 69 .. The film has cIaims not only upon » astonishing misjudgements. Stuart Byron compelling strength matched only by his repellent bigotry. this will seem like equivocation.. tragic. perhaps. Ford set out. and yet draws out our pity for The critical literature on the film continues to grow. his Westerns 'fraudulent' . By 1982 of their own . Paul Schrader's easily resolved.. The strength yet delicacy of its mise enscene. John Milius has something of an obsession with the film. Dillinger has an echo of the first scene of The Searchers... especially Americans. naming his son Ethan and constantly working references into his work.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM line readings worse. But in my view bibliography indicates. the splendour of its vistas. but upon our minds.. His Ford 'trite. forcing us to a more painful awareness than the pieties of Hardcore recounts the obsessive search of a father far a daughter who has more obviously liberal films.. 'marriage' to Look.

pp 1181 house. became Amerzcan Hi<tory (New York: Holt. costume at an early stage. as hepieks Debbie up in his alms Ethan 'pr obably went over into Mexico. Butternut was one 01 scene is not in the film lnner Llfe of We'tern. TheEFI Reb. 29 Quoted in Todd McCarthy. Ford thought it Aman will search his heart and soul 16 Stephen 1 Pyne. don'tyou. P 51 ragged. 1995) by death. 'Inventing Monument isolate. It has never yet While a weary heart gr ows old 01 the credits we go to the typical. A boutJohn University Press. enduring man. 1996). by killing. A Navajo blanket is seen first Dr Johnson: 'Every man thinks meanly of by the Comanche who beeame the wil" 22 One example was the case of Eunice beside Debbie.. the son 01 Companton to the We'tern (london: André 2 There's an odd continuity lapse in the mindlulol the remark of his near namesake. thenlater it's 8 The complete lyrics are: Milius. The Southwe5t In DHlawrenee. inc1uding nuts.John Ford (london: Studio Vista. wtiting in a memo 01 15 February 1955 he wanted to point it up a bit His peaee of mind he knows he'll find 1999). not his shir!. in Patrice back on white society Aman who keeps his or canter.' ) And turn his back on home? 11 Ford's use 01 Western locations has been details and slowly into the picture comes the biggest steer.) 7 In demanding his military titIe. 93). the longhorns drift Friulane. tIail herd Valley: Nineteenth-Century landscape melted Deerslayer lis] aman who turns his Into this scene rides he doesn't trot. who lives begins dialogue' The original novel by Alan They move on 10nesome slow Press.p. Ford said But a wanderer lears that sound 14 FrederickJackson Turner. he just walks his horse to the Or hump-backed buffalo Petro (ed. The Ri5e of a (London: Mercury Books. "You workhard. (New York: Oxlord Stock Company (lanham. Cynthia Ann Parker.. ride away Marty and 'Dobie'. P 153 Press. p 244 10 One 01 the Comanche leader s in this 21SeeEdwardBuscombe(ed). pp 421 Books. 1997).. Companyof 01 dye stull and had to colour c10th with plant she can barely control She says nothing' This 9 Jane Tompkins. a white woman captured Deutsch/BFI PUblishing. Fugltzve lmage. this forms the basis 01 23 Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola. But in a memo of Go searching way out there Grand A Short Hi<tory (New York: Penguin. The F/-ontler In melt. G P. 20 Was HaIIY Carey Jr originally east as For a tender love I'm dreaming 01 cavahy britches with yellow stripe much examines it and says tenderly. The silver he finds in his hair horizontally aeross the screen After the finish 12 Edward Buscombe. stoic. stoic. 167 a bandit. p 329. 1962) 28 Ibid . where he is played by the same the Mexican empire of Maximilian What makes aman to roam? Henry Brandon who plays Scar in The 25 It's noticeable that the Indian in the grave is thought 01 In a memo 01 28January 1955 he What makes aman leave bed and board breathing. three ragged red sergeant's For where there ain't no hate chevrons. for this assertion (Quanah Parker also appears 24 Ethan never says what kind 01 a medal it is. ride away. gallop Sorne men seareh lor injuns Photography and the Western Film'. "'Ihere's no way of The horizon's like a woman disk version 01 the film.p xvii and Narrative in the Cinema (New York: Ain't got no place to hide. Rinehart 27 Carey. How the Canyon Eecame film should open. A'fore it gets too late speaks 01 the fight at the dance being between worn His shirt should be aJohnny Reb butternut. Authorship And aman that's trying to fill his heaIt Searcher< is based Milius gives no evidenee York: Penguin.Analysis of The Searchers' in With her arms Ilung open wide Alan leMay's original story on which The WOmen~' lndran CaptlVlty Narratlves (New William Luhr and Peter Lehman. in a later shot it moves to the himself for not having been a soldier'? 01 the chief Peta Nocona. Companyof Heroe¡p. p 110 28 January 1955: 'Ihisman [ ] isdressedina more: 'The only time he betrays his leeling for Butwhere. "point" to the cowpunch in the lead and And even when they lound them to Video (Bloomington: Indiana University almost sellless. 1977). in his essay. Bogdanovich. Maryland: Madison the colours so produced In the film it's Ethan's 6 Quoted in lindsay Anderson. caped overcoat 01 Confederate gray her is seen after his aIIival at his brother's 18 Ibid. is Clayton conllict was Quanah Parker. pp 92-3 But his lonely heart won't warm Utah: Peregrine Smith Books. but he settIed on Ethan's 'pretty obvious' (p. 1988). speaking in a documentary about the Captive A Famlly Storyfrom Early America gone altogether Peter Lehman tries to read this making 01 The Searcher< inc1uded in rhe laser. As a unseen outside and the family prepares for AIong the flosty ground De <ertAe5thetic (Tucson: University of description of Ethan this has a chilling attack Whispers sofi 01 autumn time Arizona Press. caresses it. 1996) thematically. the nickname of HaIIY during the Civil War the South had a shortage mature woman aflaid to exhibit the emotions CareyJr . 1997). p 79 opening scene. 1981).x of Hollywood (New York: Grove 1967).' F/-om Photography moral integrity hard and intae! An isolate. beginningwith the 13 David W Teague. 1992). The Unredeemed hitching post in flont 01 house. with the biggest spread 01 horns we can extensively researched by Carlo Gaberscek in 26 It is in his analysis 01 the leatherstoeking Now aman will search lor lortune get Afier sufficient footage the credits appear II We5t dIJohn Ford (Udine: Arti Grafiche novels that D Hlawrence makes his oft-quoted 01 silver and 01 gold Through the eredits. (london: Papermae. knowing" . because of the medal' Peter The winds they howl and mourn 15 Quoted in DonaldJ Hagerty. However. Howard Haw!c<. Seleaed literary CrÚlwm Edwards' ranch at dusk as the Indians gather The rustIing 01 the dry brown leaves AmerieanLiteratureandArt. no 24. somewhat Charlie? In a memo of 27 January 1955 Ford awkwardly. De<ert Dream. oh lord. Putnam's Sons.). according to John Williams. 'The essential American soul is hard. but who is pure white' leMay is different again. p 121 as a character in John Ford's Two Rode The erown at the top might suggest an origin in 3 These scenes are not the opening Ford first What makes aman to wander Together. 1956). A plain black hat and Yankee officer's [renamed Ethan] takes her hand. p 3 accuracy. He and Martha are alone Amos Me 1go on searching 19 See the entry in Film Dope. 1993). and a killer . We5tOf Everything The Heroe< My life a' anAaor in the JohnFord material.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM (") r NOTES )o- (j) (j) 1 Ford was to change his mind about how the 5 Speaking to Bogdanovich. lord where? 17Ibid. 1994) statement. in his memoirs.' (J ames Nottage inlorms me that Martha?" She looks at him with a shyness 01 a Ride away. 1998). probably lought lor Juarez or The snow is deep and oh so white Winston. see John Demos. March 1982 On his sleeve. except that at the very last he does 4 Questioned by Peter Bogdanovich. Carey makes no mention of this grey overcoat that is refeIIed to as a Johnny Ford (London: Plexus.p445 70 71 . The Grey Fo. 27 Maximilian. Ford could be careless 01 such writes: 'The screen opens up Oil a plairie scene Searcher. Fire cooks a manhis meat TheArtandLifeofMaynardDixon(layton.

Eve~ythmg. plus 10% Lehman (ed. following Brian The lrost gleams where the flow'rs have the use 01 interchangeable parts and so suburbia.AboutJohn Ford Films (Berkeley: University of Calilornia 58 Paul Hutton reproduces a still from lne University 01 New Mexico Press. See Celluloid lndtans name 01 a chain 01 American furniture $175. Richard Hageman wrote the scores for name 01 making his town/ ranch/ mining For those with ataste for the by-ways 01 Picture Arts and Sciences Stagewach. Lorena. The Quia Man and The Sun Shme5 murder. a Florida State University Press. p 131 32 Chiel Big Tree. file 22 says that Ford will bepaid 'Téxas 1868/America 1956: The Seanhas' in later tries to kili Debbie. 1986). Géographies du 43 Garry Wills. unaccept. usuallymultiplemurders. and Jonathan Edwards. Companyof Heroes. Dan Ford. Western costume olten has more to Henderson. 'JohnFord's The in the Lilly Library Guardtan. a note brutal treatment 01 Look' Peter Lehman. 5 January 1999 Searchen (1956) from Novel to Screenplay to In this story [The Searcher. 1977). (Edward California. not pigs names in the UK lor 1999 Ethan stood at no 47. a distant descendant in Anderson. High Peaks (L exington: objeeted: 'Ihe sequence 01 Martin taking a bath thenovel love and forgiveness in place 01 vengeance- University Press 01 Kentucky. given speaking parts in preserved. that Ethan's racism in respect 01 been 72 73 . FortApache.l.96. its (f) hear Wayne dubbed iuto both French and conquestol the West CVWhitneywas with historical authenticity.p 167 playing Custer.. pp.. Ihe snow is on the gr ass again. Screen'. in his essay "'Correct in Every Western (Paris: Nathan. 01 the Eli Whitney who invented the 47 Under the apron she 's wearing a check shirt arguments Ihe sun's low down the sky./ohn Ford The Man and H. chickens. 5he Wore a discourse 01 love and peace which women provides a labyrinthine example 01 the films. the 01 netprofits. 38/l. The claim salé for women and ehildren. Pappy. Clase Vtewings (1allahassee: NativeAmencans and Ftlm (Lincoln: stores]. is an amalgamation of Ethan 50 In the Ford papers atthe Lilly Library. Winter 1991. as in many 38 Dan Ford says Whitney was 'heir to the 44 Alan LeMay. p 91 withlaurie in the room is. Perhaps only then do you realise just also a cousin [actually. nor to any 01 Marty's counter. See Richard Spanish. Shurlock at the 61 Though Garry Wills (John Woyne. 53 Jane Tompkins. 1999). who wrote many 01 Ford's Fugulve. ' The lerter is in the Grande. The Searchas. Ethan Plexus. Stone: Monument Valley in The Searchers' in budget carried outby Custer's troops on a sleeping LeonardEngel (ed. A boutJohn Ford. 23/4. in FortApache and house is the simplified Gothic style that was Edwards's granddaughter . Signs and Meanmg in the founded the Whitney Gallery 01 Western 48 Ford's mostdaring use 01 comedyis in the (ed ). interconnections between the 'real' West one 01 his films in which the man-woman 64 The lulllyrics are: Westof . 3751 behaving 'Iike a schoolboy' in his 'vicious and 33 Jacquelyn Kilpatrick suggests that Ethan Edwards. 1994). 1990) University 01 Nebraska Press. 'Painting the Legend: Frederic deliver to Warners 'a final budgetindicating 57 Ihe memo of 15 February specifically nineteenth century as a witness to their Remington and the Western'. a harsh judgement. as he AlIen. 1994). McBride and Wilmington in 49 See Donald Spoto. Lmena. we fee1. p 61 preache!. the Revolutionary hero [and nowthe inbox 8.s Cheyenne camp at dawn on 27 November 1868 Western Landscape. p 326 Seanhers 01 John Wayne with Peter Ortiz 35 J Mauduy and G Henriet. p 23 Celebnty (London: Faber and Faber... system 01 mass producing guns through and jeans..T H E S EARe H ERS BFI FILM n n 30 On the DVD version 01 the film you can provided cheap reliable weaponry for the do with the time when the film was made than Marty is inconsistent But being irrational.000 for twenty-six weeks' work. 1997). The distribution agreement. [Frederic] Remington's pictures are Cheyenne Autumn Exeter Press.). p 29 is precisely what the activity denies. Ford 's The Searchers 46 Dudley Nichols. 10m how much his voice brings to the film Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney who trousers. Quoted Clearly Tompkins did notlisten to Laurie's Ihe years creep slowly by.. was an exception 01 the hero 01 The Searchers. Art in Cody. The Long Voyage Home. Archivesat 56 There are similar scenes with journalists. Cinema photoplay's anticipated total negative costol identifies the massacre of Indians which Ethan religious laith' Richard Hutson. TheBig Empty Essays on 41 See Ford. 36 In a memo 01 lO February 1955 it had been p 252 In the list 01 the most popular boys' home her indictment of the Western as Montana. the son] 01 the daughter in Texas in 1868 would have worn Maltby. No larmer's inconsistency is hardly surprising. Univer sity 01 Southern meta-discourses il you will. Vanderbilt Whitney./ohn Woyne The Poluies of 52 Carey.. p 270 51 T ag Gallagher. surely.p270 Production Code Office (20 June 1955) says Ford made Ethan 'more sympathetic' than the same time as what women stand for - 39 C. the Western hero commits quote a footnote to an article lrom 1984: substituted in its place.s] .p 210 60 Ibid. 'John Ford and the Indians.) production' 1have been unable to locate such a and Marty discover as the Washita Massacre. in the Margaret Herrick Library. Time 40 At the risk 01 self-plagiarism. Academy 01 Motion Bright. might in lact have killed Lucy himself. rhe Magazine 01 Western History. Ihey might have added that Eli copyol whichisinthe Warner Bros. calls lor C V Whitney Pictures to The Man Who Shot L iberty Valance recommended to Christians in the middle 01 the Buscombe. accusing Ford in this scene 01 Yellow Rlbbon. 1992). ignores this speech in 41/1. p 241 speech.p4L) and the construction of its representations relationship came off with any leeling or The film was produced by Cor nelius profundity'. where some of Wyart Earp sequence in the otherwise tragic lndigenous Peoples (Exeter: University of p.p 44 37 Ihe lerter is among Ford 's correspondence up seven places ftom theprevious year her account 01 the film: 59ArthurM Eckstein. 3 Godfathers. or. repressive of the lemale. Wyoming. 'Sermons in Journal. V Whitney. 34 'Ihe architectural style 01 Jorgensen's Whitney was in lact married to Jonathan theDoheny Library. women are the motive fOI male Minnesota Mining and Manulacturing fortune' 1963).s as Narratzve (Albuquerque: 42 Quoted in Anderson. whatever the occasion Doniphon's History Lesson' in Mick Gidley 31 Peter Wollen. lhe Dark Stde of 55 Peter Lehman has no doubt 01 how we are DrumsAlongtheMohawkand She Wore a their book on Ford speculate that the name Genius The Lije of Alfred Huchcock (London: meant to respond. p. p 254) it's a woman the men are tryingto reseue) at York: Da Capo. 204 p242 Press.p4 Westerns. '1 cannot recall Yellow Ribbon and Wagon Master articulateisnever listened to (Tompkins. 1989). the unilorm 01 50s American 54 Richard Maltby argues. 1998). Pappy The Lije of]ohn Ford (New 45 A lerter ftom Geoffrey M. told Lindsay Anderson. Representing Qthas· White VteWS of Cmema (London: Secker & Warburg. P 15 activity (it's women who are being avenged. CinemaJoumal. The Searchers (London: Corgi. l' d like to able and some other business should be 63 Victor Young wrote the music for RIO alter time.FallI998. 1972). Summer 1984. But the historical coincidence. determined to hammer Detail": Gener al Custer in Hollywood'. 62 LeMay.

5 March 1979 See also Jack Smith's fADE OUT 10 rank1e in your bosom now. dance but a real honest lusty dance' A duf)'.p 148.original!yinCahier. has a seore by Daniele Amfitheatrof bonnets. the Wmern (London: BFI Publishing. the years are gone. he rides slowly Ihey lived. Though mine beat faster far than thine one pointpart of a verse is sungby an old-timer costume tries to fob off war bonnets made 80 Hollywood 'Out We5t'.d idea to. as they seem to think. New York after Ethan and Debbie towards the hause 1 would not cause e' en one regret (eds). then an old on television. Apart from his straw hat down on the border. so named for the storythat Hol!y's song 'Ihat'l! Be the Day' him just as she had on the day he left the Alas! I care not lO repeat. broke smile or not. music hom The Searcha.THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM o » (J) (J) o But my heart throbs as warmly now 65 SeeJack Smith's sleeve notes for the CD of Colored blankets and shitts I suggest for 79 Shurlock (Production Code Office. but only lived to cheat 71 Edward Buseombe and Roberta Pearson Movie of the New Hol!ywood'. changing to a brown one when result of a fal!. H151ife and MU5zc as source for foot and vaults up beside him and she kisses The story of that past. pp 259-60. Comanches wer e Plains Indians They Warburg. He doesn't know whether to black stovepipe hat with a feather on it as part. Searchen. his arm supporting her. "'The Searchers": Cult holding her beside him. much too big for him. Debbie "Eliminate the Since last I held that hand in mine. he just waits. 184. wardrobe] should start looking through goo. and she is porch of the Jorgensens' Charlie changes [Iom 75 Mick Gidley. CD sleeve notes. Jeffrey Hunter would both suffer accidental Carey. saddle.Novemberl966 Mones (New York: Macmillan. lorena. Lorena. Indian costumes: when abmptly he takes Natalie Wood into his 86 17 March 1956 Life's tide is ebbing out so fast arms in the lastreel of The Searchenr' 87 13 March 1956 There is a huure! O. 'tis heart lO heart wore headdresses and eagle feathers anéma. on the of low-budget version of The Searcha¡ Yes. aher alL] and Gal!agher misunderstand Wayne's gesture And hear the distant church bel! chime A-down affection's c10udless sky !t's not.. indeed. she and walking away that is the homage to Harry We loved each other then.cautioning her against waking 1wice we see Scar don his war bonnet. pp 9-10. Lorena. and a br own (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. no. he and Marty go to the Comanche camp and incident that has never been satisfactorily with the meaning of the film Butthen. akind Ethan has Debbie on the pomme1 of his stovepipe hat. Lilly Library. 'lost years sleep on! brown one with a feather in it. gets a different explained Her sister Lana. up there. John R Stetson was specifical!y based on Ethan's catch-phrase graves to takeup the search. at of theWestern-Indian picture Western homecoming . 1981) 74 75 . the beginning. then at Martin. Edward S Curtz¡ and the They burn within my memoryyet. And then she is exchange. as Wayne makes elear to Brownlow. cut right aher Duke says A hundred months have passed. 69 Ihis is presumably a Stetson. produced by the their moccasins that they adopt the Navajo Interestingly. 1998). comes mnning up to stare at Ethan and at stetson when he comes coutting. pp. the 1'l! say to tbem. first meet Look Mose. Hunter as the the movement of the arm Walking away is And what we might have been. at first a nondescript younger Debbie. 237-8 Which thrill and tremble with regret lips . Ihames Ielevision. on the other 77 Stuart Byron quotes John Goldrosen in Ihe tie which linked my soul with thee beside him and she steps onto his stilluped hand. later appeared in Peyton Place script. 1955) (J) As when the summer days were nigh. Ethan only once varies the black hat he wears at deaths at the age of forty-three. and final!y a her hait and stalled in Grayeagle (1977).1 is dust to dust beneath the sod. Look is 76 Ford's memo of 27 January 1955 cal!s for 'a '1was notthy woman's heart that spoke.and then he rides by Laurie looks given a brown homberg and her father gets a real barndance stomp not a professional Thy heart was always tme lO me. the act of 68 The Searchen offers a rich variety of hats 74 In a slightly macabre twist of fate. hat for each occasion. writing in a memo to Merian A-down affection's c10udless sky University (Warner Music FMA/MSIOl) think Beetson [in charge of men's Cooper (7 December 1955) 'I suggest it a 66 Ibid. asleep Martin is riding beside them Laurie an average cowboy hat lO an impressively large NonhAmerzcan Indzan. Lorena. however. 78 Jean-Luc Godard famously remarked: 1956 p 85 'Mystery and fascination of this American 84 AH quotations fIOm British reviews are It matters linle now. 67 The La5t Hunt.sdu 90 Joel Finler andDavid Pirie. the girl He smiles and puts his finger te his derby for his wedding. torena. only wear hats at the funer al Buddy Holly. nor is his walking away. who plays the 82 Wayne's gesture with his arm is not in the 1'l! not cal! up their shadowy forms. Both Wills 10 watch the dying of the day. posed in Playboywith feathers in scripted ending is entirely conventional: Sleep on! Nor heed life's pelting slOrms' cavalry cap in the cantina. file 22 . Box 6. Only the first use of For 'if we trywe may forget' p 6 the phrase appears in the script 83 Al! these reviews appeared on 31 May Were words of thine long years ago 72 See Gaberscek. Ol three-quarterlength boot I this scene. Indians too wear hats 1998). 'twas flowery May who plays the accordion: of turkey feathers 4 Match 1980 When up the hilly slope we c1imbed. Oh! The sun can never dip so low. thank God! !t is important that the costumes of the 1 ranslated in Joseph McBride and Michael 88 13 March 1956 Of life this is so smal! a pard Comanches be not exactly authentic Ihe WilminglOnJohn Ford (London: Secker & 89 Ford papers. More than we ever dared to tel!.Backm the 5addleAgain New Essay¡ on Maga:¡me. 1974). Ihe white women. Wood drowning at sea in an nothing to do with Wayne's homage. Film Music Archives. 70 26 January 1955 See StuartByron. home. 73 In a memo (26 January 1955) Ford had cinema How can I hateJohn Wayne hom The Searchers pressbook The past is in LI)' eternal past. Ford had at first wanted to cut Oh! The sun can never dip so low. which a1so uses 'torena' as its theme tune. Lorena. its originator. And still The hopes that could not last. Debbie . Incorporated Ihey lOuched some tender chords. 'tis past.Anatomyof the But there. [So some degree of accuracy was requited 81 WillsJolzn Wayne.. made the same year as The Western Costume forleggings and war "Let's go. advised against ethnogr aphic accur acy in the upholding Goldwater and yet love him tenderly 8531 March 1956 Our heads will soonlie low. Lorena. Ihis has always been the bugaboo business with Ward and go right back to the And felt the pulse beat fast. it's te do Had but our lovings prospered wel!. Il We5t dzJohn Ford. but. Brigham Young knee. Lorena. Lorena. these were words of love. Lorena. stern and pressing. A hundred months.

pp 256-8 film-maker] sees his film simply as a blow Warner Bros. nor does he scalp Scar. chance that it will turn out to be more Associate Producer Colorado: Colorado: alteady mentioned. Colorado: an internal criticism is taking place. A tension which is simply not there in an ©CVWhitney Pictures Inc Gene Polito. Rinehart Distributor ArchR Dalzell. A GUldeframA lO Z (New York: Holl. Gunnison. and at the end he is not exeluded) Jonathan category See Nick Browne (ed ). JohnFord 2nd Unit. 'The Searchas'. Hugh McDowell. La Regle du in lavout 01 liberalism.THE SEARCHERS B F I F I L M (") r CREDITS » (J) The Searchers (J) (") 91 Lindsay Anderson. Larry Hughes Colorado: Colorado: Battery Man JoeHadley Edward O'Fearna 2nd Unit. Gunnison. textuality In addition to Buddy Holly's song. there is a Merian e Cooper 2nd Unit. would seem to be a prime candidate for this Location Scout Colorado: 2nd Unit. 2nd Unit. on The CVWhitney Picture Elmer Faubian AnnPeck 95 Byron. with recognisably Ethan-type Wingate Smith Jack Chamber s.. Gunnison.p 63 Assistant Directors Colorado: Jack Obringer EfIam Nugent. 'Shall We Photography JackMurray Gather atthe River' (trad) AlfIedGilks Art Directors Sound Technicolor Colour Frank Hotaling. Tokyo Story and Vertigo recuperated instantly by the ideology. features a central character named 1990). Make-up Assistants futule. pp 94-5 USA Camera Operators Props (J) and Sound. David Thomson. '" The Searchers" the other hand. Gunnison. il Warner Bros Pictures Inc Buddy Weiler Jack Owens &Winston. Gunnison. Properties Colorado: Dudley Holmes Nathan Stufflebeam 76 77 . Web Overlander kill Debbie at the stream. Pete Barnard.p 517 one looks beyond its apparent lormal British Release Camera Technicians Labourer 93 David lhomson. Autumn.). 1969--1972 The Polules 01 Director Assistant Grips Burris Grimwood set on the Irontier 01 an imaginar y planet in the RepresentatlOn (London: Routledge/BFI. the 1956 Al Greene Art Cole A boutJohn Ford. in the immediate wake of disruptive Patrick Ford Frank Shriner Charles Arrico the film's release Dell Comics produced a lilll- colour comicbook version 01 thefilm (with Ford was given as an example 01 a director who Production Supervisor Head Grip Make-up sorne significant changes. sungby lhe Sons 01 Winton e Hoch Dave Koehler the Pioneers. 2nd Unit. 5lght 97 BogdanovichJohn Ford. 'Skip to My 2nd Unit Director of Film Editor Lou' (trad. in a much-discussed artiele. Nugent Alexander Kahle Orchestrations Based on the story Special Effects Murray Cutter 'lheAvenging Texans' and George Brown Soundtrack the novel by Alan LeMay 2nd Unit. Gunnison. Assistant Props 92 Pauline Kael. 33/4. 98 In 1969. Hairdresser Script Supervisor Colorado: Fae Smith Robert Gary JohnFunk Music Screenplay Stills Photography MaxSteiner Frank S. 26/2. Gunnison. and The Searchers LowellJ Farrell 2nd Unit. Gunnison. 1982). if. Gunnison.. SOOI Nlghts at the Movíe. Ethan doesn't try to makes this type 01 film. Cahiers du RobertLee 'Lefty' Hough Cad Gibson Colorado: Lethem's recentnovel Glrf inlandscape (1998). Gunnison. Gunnison. George Dye Bob Woods Bíagraphícal DlctionaT:Y 01 Film (London: ideologically innocuous film if [the Production Companies Assistant Camera Men's Wardrobe André Deutsch. Lookat The Searchen'. it will be presents Colorado: Women's Wardrobe jeu. cracks: it is splitting under an internal Colorado: Colorado: July/August 1997. category 01 film in which 26 May 1956 Colorado: 2nd Unit. Gunnison. Gunnison. Frank Beetson 94 Coming in behind Citi:ren Kane. Gunnison. p 152 French journal Cahías du Cmé'ma proposed a US Release 2nd Unit. Cmé'ma Vol 3. Pictures 2nd Unit. 1994).Film Comment. one can see that it is riddled with 23 September 1956 2nd Unit. Gunnison. he conceives and realizes it Executive Producer Camera Mechanic Wardrobe Assistant 96 Nor arefilms the only examples 01 inter- on the deeper level 01 imagery. 2nd Unit. Consultant James Basevi Howard Wilson James Gooch Set Decorator First Aid VictO! Gangelin 2nd Unit. 1956. 'The Searchers' by Stan Director of Photography Colorado: Jones. char acteristics 2nd Unit. 'Open and Shut: A Fresh coherence. Anderson.

1990) Slim Hightower. 'Sermons in Stone: Ihomson. Cinema An lntroduetion (Oxford: B1ackwell. 38/1. (London: BFI Publishing. 'Open and Shut: A Fresh Monument Valley in The Searchen' in Leonard Look at The Searchen'. Spring 1971 Samuel Johnson Clayton private Gallagher. A boutJohn Ford PrÚonniere du désert. 1996) Pye. 1991 William Steele Henderson. Allen e 'John Ford Makes Another extras JohnWayne Lucy Edwards Eckstein. 'Iragic Features in John Carmen O'Antonio knowing" .. Lar s J01gensen BenEdwards I have found most useful GPPutnam's Sons. Andrew 'The Searchen'. Film Quarterly. Douglas 'Doub1e Visiono Desmond Lane. 18. Ken Curtis Away Luna (London: Plexus. 2612.. 1981) (Paris: Adam Biro. Dan Pappy The life ofJohn Ford FOId's The Searchas'. MoseHarper Percy Shooting Star Luerature/Film Quarterly. 1998) 1991 Ward Bond Gaberscek. New Orleans Review. Maryland: Madison Books. Iom Doniphon's HistOlY Lesson' in Mick FrankMcGrath. M. Alan The Searchers (London: Wc. Fzlm /unaedztedJ Captain the Reverend Jack Pennick Colour by (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane. David. only of the works and Narrative in the Cinema (New York: (J) 2nd Unit. My DarlingDaughter": deleted Martin Pawley LanaWood 1998 Gender. The Polu/Cs of woman at foH Nacho Galindo Vzewmgs (Tallahassee: FI01ida State University Celebnty(London: Faber andFaber. Chuck Roberson Ranger Lawrence Engel (ed. Arthur M.). WalterCoy Comanche Clauss. '''Yes. The Searchers' in Peter Lehman (ed ). 'Incest and (eds). Ieny Wilson Emilio Gabriel Fernandez y Harry Black Horse Magazine. fohn Ford The Man and Hzs Skerry. Richard and Craven. Betty Danko. 'What Makes aMan to Wander? Iechnicolor NatalieWood Peter Mamakos Fllms (Berkeley: University of California Ethan Edwards of John FOId 's The Searchers'. the Night Sky Smile White Sheep (Lanham. Antonio Moreno Feather Hat Jr Movie of the New Hollywood'. Robert Reeves. chapter 3: Cliff Lyons Winter 1980-1 'A Glitter of Putrescence' Colonel Greenhill Hutson... Martin M. 1996) Cast Pippa Scott Unfórg¡ven (1959)'. 1994) lnner Life of Wtsterns (New York: Oxford deranged woman MaeMarsh Lehman. unpublished essay Searchas' in Ian Cameron and Douglas Pye Joe Rickson Ellsworth Vierelle Oorothy Jordan Eckstein. 1986) New Orleans Review.I963) Stunts Henry Brandon TerryWilson and Sound. dance! in cantina William Luhr and Peter Lehman. 5 March 1979 Exeter Press. Companyof Heroes My McBride.. Charlie McCorry BillyYellow Bogdanovich. 7/1.). Fall Roth. Hany. Peter 'Texas 1868/America 1956: University Press. 1967) or. Chief Scar / Cicatriz Anderson. '''There 's no way of Winkler. CinemaJournal. Peter. James Van Dyck 'The Searchen by Maltby. 1992) Stand-ins Figueroa Card. VistaVision Debbie Edwards Jerem Futterman Press.Jane Wtstof Everythmg The Universityof New MexicoPress. 34/2. 1997).THE SEARCHERS BFI FILM BIBLlOGRAPHY » (J) (J) o Radio Man John Qualen Robert Lyden Ihis is not a complete listing. April 1956 Jeffrey Hunter Lieutenant Greenhill to Screen'. Autumn. Miscegenation and Generation in John Vera Miles Debbie as a child Ford. Garry John Wayne.role Searchen (1956) flom Novel to Screenplay Highways. Classics and Cinema. Grace Ritchie. P.681 feet Laurie Jorgensen 119 minutes (New York: Da Capo. The B¡g Empty E Slays on Wtstern July/August 1997 Ruth Clifford landscapes as Narratlve (Albuquerque: Tompkins. Richard. 1990) chapter 20: 'Ihe Fury of Ethan' Mexican bar tender Lehman.Anzona Peter Ortiz EthanEdwards Patrick Wayne General Custer .Jean-LouisJohnFord la William 1 Cartledge. 1992). The Movie Book of the Wtstern (London: Bud Cokes Martha Edwards William Forrest Miscegenation in The Searchas (1956) and The Studio Vista.. 33/4.ship 35/1. J. une tapÚserie navajo ranger Chuck Hayward. Arthur M 'JohnFord's The Movie Classic in Monument Valley' . Cario II Wtst diJohn Ford Sarris. Brad JOIgensen Byron. Harry Carey Jr Bob Many Mules Studio Vista. Peter John Ford (L ondon: Maltby. HankWorden Many Mules Son AlanLeMay andby John Ford'. Press. unpublished Reed. 1974) Pipe Line Begishe Glen Holly. Joseph and Wilmington. James 1 'Descent into Hell: Mythic Miscegenation and Point of View in The Logan Morris. Brian 'The Searchers: An Stern. 1994) Comment. S¡ght Corgi.1991 78 79 . Les1ey The Seanese Conneetion Nesby American Dilemma'. Aaron Edwards Paradigms in The Searchen'. Gunnison. 1977) ColOlado: Olive Carey Frank McGrath LeMay. 1956 Leutrat. Representmg Othen' Whue Views Exactly Sonnie Betsuie Dale Van Sickle. 1995). Stokes Mrs Jorgensen soldier Anderson.Analysis of The Searchen' in Ford's The Searchas'. Tan Hollywood Jack Tin Horn Ray Cordell. Close Wills. 10. 1988 1995) Harry Tenbrook Beulah Archuletta Pete Gray Eyes CareyJr. Lindsay. Richard 'John Ford and the Indians. Fzlm Comment. Stuart "'Ihe Searchers": Cult Gidley (ed. 16. Fred Kennedy. Michael Wranglers Look/Wild Goose Flying in life as anActor in theJohn Ford Stock Company fohnFord(London: Secker & Warburg. New York of lndigenous Peoples (Exeter: University of Henry Wills. 18. Tag. Author. Lindsay 'The Searchers'.

Related Interests