Stagecoach

1939

Stagecoach

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36
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Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board. Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) is the wife of a cavalry officer stationed in Lordsburg, and she's determined to be with him. Hatfield (John Carradine) is a smooth-talking cardsharp who claims to be along to "protect" Lucy, although he seems to have romantic intentions. Dr. Boone (Thomas Mitchell) is a self-styled philosopher, a drunkard, and a physician who's been stripped of his license. Mr. Peacock (Donald Meek) is a slightly nervous whiskey salesman (and, not surprisingly, Dr. Boone's new best friend). Gatewood (Berton Churchill) is a crooked banker who needs to get out of town. Buck (Andy Devine) is the hayseed stage driver, and Sheriff Wilcox (George Bancroft) is along to offer protection and keep an eye peeled for the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), a well-known outlaw who has just broken out of jail. While Wilcox does find Ringo, a principled man who gives himself up without a fight, the real danger lies farther down the trail, where a band of Apaches, led by Geronimo, could attack at any time. Stagecoach offers plenty of cowboys, Indians, shootouts, and chases, aided by Yakima Canutt's remarkable stunt work and Bert Glennon's majestic photography of Ford's beloved Monument Valley. It also offers a strong screenplay by Dudley Nichols with plenty of room for the cast to show its stuff. John Wayne's performance made him a star after years as a B-Western leading man, and Thomas Mitchell won an Oscar for what could have been just another comic relief role. Thousands of films have followed Stagecoach's path, but no has ever improved on its formula.

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Cast

John Wayne
as The Ringo Kid
Thomas Mitchell
as Dr. Josiah Boone
Andy Devine
as Buck Rickabaugh
Donald Meek
as Mr. Samuel Peacock
Louise Platt
as Lucy Mallory
George Bancroft
as Sheriff Curly Wilcox
Berton Churchill
as Henry Gatewood
Tim Holt
as Lt. Blanchard
Tom Tyler
as Luke Plummer
Francis Ford
as Billy Pickett
Marga Ann Deighton
as Mrs. Pickett
Cornelius Keefe
as Capt. Whitney
Kent Odell
as Billy Pickett Jr.
Walter McGrail
as Capt. Sickels
Chief John Big Tree
as Indian Scout
Brenda Sue Fowler
as Mrs. Gatewood
Louis Mason
as Sheriff
Florence Lake
as Mrs. Nancy Whitney
Joe Rickson
as Ike Plummer
Vester Pegg
as Hank Plummer
Yakima Canutt
as Cavalry Scout
Harry Tenbrook
as Telegraph Operator
Paul McVey
as Express Agent
Jack Pennick
as Jerry the Bartender
Bryant Washburn
as Capt. Simmons
Nora Cecil
as Dr. Boone's Housekeeper
Helen Gibson
as Dancing Girl
Dorothy Appleby
as Dancing Girl
Bill Cody
as Cowboy
Duke R. Lee
as Sheriff of Lordsburg
Ed Brady
as Saloon Keeper
Robert E. Homans
as Editor in Lordsburg
Jim Mason
as Expressman Jim
Theodore Lorch
as Lordsburg Express Agent
Hank Worden
as Cavalryman
Si Jenks
as Bartender
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