THE SHOOTIST REUNION - April 21, 2001 - Carson City, Nevada
25th Anniversary of the filming of The Shootist in Carson City, Nevada.


Marion Morrison - John “Duke” Wayne 1907 - 1978
Filming his last movie, The Shootist, John Wayne waves from the porch of the Krebs-Peterson House
in Carson City in 1976.

CHAPTER 1 - The Internet

    The internet pays due homage to John Wayne and The Shootist with many sites. Here are just a few:


    The Shootist flashed into Glendon Swarthout's imagination early one Arizona evening in 1973 while shaving before going out in Scottsdale, their hometown. My dad told my mother, Kathryn, "Hold on, I just had a terrific idea. We're gonna be a little late for the party." He then sat down at his desk and in about forty-five minutes outlined the basic story of what would become two years later, one of his best-known novels and certainly the best film ever made from one of them.

    The Author's Note to this special new Berkley Press edition states that “'gunfighter’ is a word of recent coinage. A survey of Western newspapers of the late 1800's shows that a man notorious for his skill with handguns and his willingness to use them was called, variously, a ‘gunman,’ a ‘mankiller,’ an ‘assassin,’ or a ‘shootist.’” Hence, this now famous title, which revived an old Western term and capped the Western film career of our greatest of all the celluloid cowboys, the legendary John Wayne. The Duke, by the way, hated this title at first and tried to get it changed for the film. He thought the audience might be confused, thinking the picture had something to do with parachuting instead!

    My father had read a medical article stating that one of the leading causes of death among old Western cowboys was, surprisingly, neither lead poisoning nor rope burns, poor food or hygiene, or just plain badly made whiskey. Instead, it was cancer of the prostate. For back in the late 1800's all cowboying was done from the back of a horse, and the constant pounding a man's buttocks took day after day in the saddle led many of these hard-riding buckaroos to have severe problems with their prostate glands in their old age.

    So there was Glendon's innovative premise -- a legendary gunman and ex-Sheriff is diagnosed with an incurable cancer when he rides into newly urbanized El Paso at the turn of the century. The doctor, played by the equally legendary Jimmy Stewart, gives this aging shootist several options, surgery not being one of them -- "I'd have to gut you like a fish." He could die in bed in excruciating agony; the doctor could drug him out of his misery with laudanum, a favored medicinal elixir of that era which was heavily laced with opium. Or, Stewart, tells him, "I would not die a death such as I have just described, not if I had your courage."

    Based upon several unsold scripts for television I'd written while a grad student in Telecommunications at the University of Southern California, my dad offered me the privilege of adapting his forthcoming novel. I leapt at the chance. The Shootist was originally published by Doubleday to very good reviews and has gone through several editions in paperback prior to this special new one, as well as being reprinted in numerous foreign editions. It was also honored by the Western Writers of America with their Spur Award as the Best Western Novel of 1975, and then-President Ronald Reagan endorsed it as "one of the best Westerns he'd ever read."

    We sold the book and screenplay together to independent producer, Mike Frankovich, the former head of Columbia Pictures. Glendon split his $350,000 fee with me, and one of the many things I'll always be grateful to him for was that this money enabled me to set myself up as a screenwriter and embark on a new career. Luckily for us, John Wayne had heard about this upcoming Western and began actively lobbying for the lead role of J. B. Books. Producer Frankovich took our project to another legend, Dino de Laurentiis, who was financing his own movies via sources in Europe and had a releasing deal through Paramount Pictures. When the story was described to him, Dino, in his fractured English, reportedly replied, "Cowboy? Oh yes, John Wayne, he'd be good!"
     The cast Mike Frankovich and additional producer William Self managed to round up for The Shootist was extraordinary, for word had gotten around Hollywood about the Duke's declining health and that this might actually be his last ride in the movies. So many of show businesses' finest veteran actors pitched in at far below their normal salaries to give Wayne some needed box office support. What a cast! Jimmy Stewart, Richard Boone, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Scatman Crothers, Sheree North, Hugh O'Brian, Rick Lenz, Harry Morgan, and John Carradine all were recruited on a budget of only $4.5 million, which was fairly low even by 1976 standards.

    Filming began up in Carson City, Nevada, at nearly five thousand feet, which required Wayne to have oxygen assistance and a nurse assigned to him twenty-four hours a day, due to the fact that he was down to one lung, after having another removed due to cancer a few years before. Besides his physical difficulties working at altitude, Wayne caught a serious flu bug which shut production down for several weeks and by the time he was up and about again, the director, Don Siegel, came down with the same virus, causing producer Frankovich to take over filming for a couple days.

    By now the company had moved back down to the back lot of the Burbank Studios (now the Warner Brothers lot), where veteran set designer Robert Boyle had constructed a four hundred thousand dollar downtown set, which looked something like the real El Paso of 1901, when it was just about the last of the roaring southwestern boomtowns.

    In the film, though, the town was called Carson City, to match the residential and outdoor backdrops of that Nevada area. Boyle deservedly received an Oscar nomination for his set designs in the film, especially the Metrople Saloon, which was doubling for the Acme Saloon, where the notorious Texas gunfighter/lawyer, John Wesley Hardin, was shot in the back of the head by an old ex-Sheriff (John Selman) as he stood at the bar rolling dice for drinks on a hot August night in 1895. The Shootist is, in fact, loosely based on research my father did on the amazing life of John Wesley Hardin, the only gunfighter ever to write his own autobiography and pass the Texas bar exam after spending much of his later life in prison for shooting forty-four men and leading the Texan rebellion against the hated Yankee-carpetbagging State Police for some years after the Civil War. Wes Hardin was also famed for having two six-guns sewn into special holsters stitched on either side of a custom vest, but when they rigged this up in wardrobe, John Wayne was already too heavy and awkward handling the extra bulk under his suitcoat, so the filmmakers had to settle for the old standard six-shooter on the hip.

    But they finally got it all in the can and filming ended with few of the principals still speaking to one another. That acrimony didn't hurt the picture, though, since Wayne was supposed to be playing a sarcastic, cantankerous character somewhat full of himself in the twilight of his years, and that role fit John Wayne's real personality in his final years like a glove. In a line from the novel and the film that has been quoted innumerable times in cinema histories and film retrospectives of the Duke's long career, J. B. Books, the celebrated shootist, instructs Ron Howard in gunmanship and states his personal creed, "I won't be wronged; I won't be insulted; I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them." This now famous credo resembles the personal code of ethics John Wayne's own druggist father taught him as a boy: "Always keep your word; a gentleman never insults anybody intentionally; and don't go around looking for trouble, but if you ever get in a fight, make sure you win it." Both creeds still make pretty good words to live by in this tough day and age.

    Although it didn't make much of a dent at the box office, The Shootist certainly became a big hit on television, playing cable, network prime-time and syndicated television innumerable times and selling countless videocassettes for Paramount Pictures worldwide. In a 1995 survey taken among a hundred members of the Western Writers of America, The Shootist made a clean sweep, voted by them one of the twelve greatest Western novels ever written, as well as one of the fifteen finest Western motion pictures ever made. Glendon Swarthout also made their list of the twenty-six best writers of Western fiction and non-fiction of all time. Lengthy mention of the Duke's last ride has also been made in every Western reference book published since the film was released, and it is generally considered by film experts and his fans to be one of John Wayne's five finest Western films, along with Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers, and True Grit. So what you are about to read is a true Western “classic”in every sense of that too often overused word.

    On the proudest day of his literary career, June 27th, 1991, Glendon Swarthout received the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Western Writers of America at their convention that year at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He'd certainly created bestsellers like They Came To Cordura and The Homesman that had already won acclaim and awards as some of the finest Westerns ever written, but where he really made his mark in this most American of all genres was in Hollywood. Every single western story Glendon ever wrote was either optioned, sold, or finally produced into a Western film, a track record in show business I doubt any other writer will ever top, in any genre.

    Glendon was an absolute, original master of the western, which was all the more amazing coming from a college professor of English literature who grew up in a small farming town in Michigan and never rode a horse, or even owned a Stetson, or a pair of cowboy boots. Dad died of emphysema little more than a year after that grand day in Oklahoma City. I scattered his ashes high up near the camel's head of Scottsdale's famed Camelback Mountain, overlooking his beloved Paradise Valley, where hedreamed up most of his finest tales of gunfights and adventure set among the cactus and cowboys, Indians and cavalrymen of the great old American West.

    His like will not pass our way again.

    Miles Hood Swarthout is a screenwriter who has also had articles published in the Los Angeles Times and the Arizona Republic. Part of this forward first appeared in The Roundup, the bi-monthly journal of the Western Writers of America, where it won their 1994 Stirrup Award for the Best Article appearing in that publication. "The Making of The Shootist" was also part of a longer article about "The Westerns of Glendon Swarthout, "which appeared in the "Hollywood and the West" issue of Persimmon Hill (spring 1996), the quarterly magazine of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. That particular special issue was the biggest-seller in the over thirty-year history of that distinguished magazine, long known as one of the most beautiful publications published annually in America.
Glendon Swarthout


    Director -- Don Siegel.
    Starring -- John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart, Richard Boone, Hugh O'Brian, Sheree North, and Scatman Crothers.

    This low-budget film didn't do well at the box office when Paramount dumped it on a limited number of screens with very limited promotion and advertising in October of '76. The studio only owned domestic exhibition rights to the film, sold them by producer Dino de Laurentiis, who kept all foreign rights himself. As it turned out to be the great Wayne's final film, however (he died from lung cancer only two years later), The Shootist has since become a TV perennial and been written-up prominently and appreciatively in every picture book about the Western film since. With its good screenplay based upon Glendon's award-winning novel, and fine performances by a truly amazing cast, this film has gradually become recognized by film historians and Western buffs for what it really is -- one of John Wayne's five best Westerns and certainly one of the most memorable Westerns from the Seventies, a generally weak decade for the genre.

     The tremendous cast came together at producer Mike Frankovich's behest, and all were willing to take much smaller fees in support of the ailing cowboy legend, for they knew this might well be his last ride before the cameras. Indeed, a doctor had to be paid off under the table to even get Wayne past his insurance physical. Already down to one lung, he had a nurse with him 24/7 with oxygen handy due to the higher elevation in Carson City, Nevada. Production had to be shut down for two weeks when he got the flu, and only a few months after filming Duke had open heart surgery. No wonder he was cranky on the set, complaining and giving everybody hell about everything! Don Siegel got good performances out of the entire awesome supporting cast, Bruce Surtees' cinematography was great and Robert Boyle's Oscar-nominated sets superb. The film's only weaknesses were Harry Morgan as the Sheriff and Elmer Bernstein's unmemorable score. The Shootist is also famed child actor Ron Howard's last screen role (he's now a more famous director), and the screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale received a Writers Guild nomination for Best Adaptation. In 1995 this movie was voted by a hundred members of the Western Writers of America as one of the 15 Greatest Westerns ever made.

    Do see John Wayne's valedictory farewell to films, playing a fabled Western gunfighter dying of cancer (too true!), who even sums up his legendary career in one great line -- "In general, I've had a helluva good time!" The Duke goes out with his boots on and his six-shooter smoking, exactly the way Western movie heroes should. This now classic Western remains a fitting final tribute to an authentic American legend.


    "The Shootist will stand as one of John Wayne's towering achievements, and his very best since True Grit. Don Siegel's terrific film is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple, in its quiet, elegant and sensitive telling of the last days of a dying gunfighter at the turn of the century. Wayne and Lauren Bacall are both outstanding. Dino de Laurentiis sponsored the very handsome Mike Frankovich/William Self production, which could become a major box office hit for Paramount…The entire film is in totally correct balance, artistically and technically, a major credit in Frankovich's long production career. Robert Boyle's production design, Bruce Surtees' cinematography, Elmer Bernstein's music and all other key components support this magnificent depiction of people and their society at a fulcrum. The Shootist is one of the great films of our time."----------Art Murphy, Variety

    "With The Shootist, a grandly elegiac Western superbly directed by Don Siegel, John Wayne once again goes with richer, more fully dimensional material than usual as he did with True Grit. Once again it pays off handsomely with a film that is among his and Siegel's finest… Splendidly designed by Robert Boyle and photographed by Bruce Surtees in appropriate autumnal tones, The Shootist is a film of much resonance, enriched by the regard Siegel has for his cast members and they for each other…Wayne, Miss Bacall--astringent and regally beautiful in her first major screen role in years--and Stewart are stars rich in associations that further enhance the film's meanings and emotions. Wayne naturally dominates with his larger-than-life presence yet reveals to us rare tenderness and vulnerability. The Shootist is a very special film indeed."----------Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

    "If, God forbid, John Wayne should choose to end his incredible career right now, after more than 45 years in films, I can't think of any more perfect picture to fade out on than this Frankovich/Self production of The Shootist… Just when it seemed the Western was an endangered species, due for extinction because it had repeated itself too many times, Wayne and Siegel have managed to validate it once more. The Shootist may well become a classic, ranking right up there with many of Wayne's earlier masterpieces."----------Arthur Knight, the Hollywood Reporter

    "Wayne's proud, quietly anguished performance, one of his very best and certainly his most moving, has a richness that seems born of self-knowledge; he lends the film a tremendous sense of intimacy and a surprisingly confessional mood. The Shootist is, in its own reserved way, John Wayne's single-minded statement about both the burden and the triumph of being John Wayne. The big name supporting cast performs beautifully, but it is very much a supporting cast, perhaps in tribute to the stature of its star."----------Newsweek

    "The Shootist, Wayne's latest film, seems destined to become one of the classics. As such it could take its place beside Red River, True Grit, and all those John Ford epics starting with Stagecoach. The new film is different. It is filled with pain, melancholy and death. Perhaps it might even be called a film of despair. It is about moral choices, but unlike so many Westerns, the moral decisions of its protagonist are not unquestionable …The Shootist is a blending of many talents. Glendon Swarthout's novel is the basis for an intelligent script by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale. Wayne, Miss Bacall, Harry Morgan, James Carradine and others turn in fine performances. Don Siegel, the director, again proves he is a filmmaker with few peers in America."----------Dennis Stack, Kansas City Times

    "The Shootist is the fascinating, often entertaining, always moving and humane story of how a legend dies with courage in the face of adversity. Director Don Siegel paints a softly focused canvas of the changing West at the turn of the century, with keenly observed details and insights about the life of the times, indoor plumbing, streetcars, and the advancement of medical technology. John Wayne, in his finest role since True Grit, is a wounded eagle in an aviary of vultures. Resting his behind on a bordello pillow, scandalizing the self-righteous widow with his salty talk, bellowing and ordering everyone about and lacing his delivery with a wry twinkle, he has a fine time with the role. There's something touching about the grandeur of the last of a dying breed, suffering on a patchwork quilt, while a 1901 Oldsmobile rattles by outside the window as a sign of progress." ----------Rex Reed, Vogue

    "The Shootist is a strange film if only because it tips its ending at the beginning -- Wayne, the aging gunfighter, is going to die. But it still enthralls partly because all the elements mesh properly: Don Siegel's lowkeyed, resolute direction, the beautiful modulations between black humor and heartwrenching poignancy in Miles Hood Swarthout's and Scott Hale's screenplay, and the uniformly excellent performances of the entire cast (especially those of Lauren Bacall, as the widow, and Ron Howard, as her son, who both realize they got to know this man too late)…But most of all, The Shootist is John Wayne. It was Wayne who insisted that the story be changed to reflect more optimism than Glendon Swarthout's stark book. It was Wayne who knew this would be a summation of his entire Western-movie career. And it is Wayne who provides a performance to match the best performances of his past in Red River and The Searchers."----------Mike Petryni, the Arizona Republic

    "The Shootist is John Wayne's best film since John Ford's 1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This Don Siegel-directed film version of Glendon Swarthout's novel may also be, with the exception of the anti-Westerns like The Wild Bunch, the best single Western since Ford's brilliant elegy to Western myth-making."----------Tim A. Janes, Tucson Arizona Daily Star

    "The Shootist may just prove to be a historic Western. That is a risky projection, but there is evidence to support the contention. It is, in the first place, not only a superior Western, but a superior film as well. Further, it is a notably gutsy project, presenting as it does a decidedly unconventional and uncommercial plot -- the last eight days in the life of a gunfighter dying of cancer. Additionally, it features an extraordinary cast--Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, Richard Boone, John Carradine, Sheree North--several of whom accepted roles more modest in scope than they would ordinarily require. But the main reason The Shootist should live beyond its allotted time is John Wayne. The picture probably would not have been made without him -- his personal prestige, his near legendary stature, his box office appeal -- and probably could not have been made without him. For it is, in a sense, a biography of the Duke, both man and actor. If the two can be separated. And it may well be the last film Wayne will make."----------John L. Wasserman, San Francisco Chronicle

    "John Wayne mellows into what may prove the finest role in his career, an aging legendary gunfighter who puts his lifelong ideals in order as he waits out the final seven days of his life. Don Siegel's absorbing, highly affecting character study is a major achievement, although a dearth of action and the story's leisurely, downbeat tones may require unusual marketing to bring out its audience."----------Independent Film Journal


    Directed by Don Siegel

    Cast:  John Wayne
               Lauren Bacall
               James Stewart
               Ron Howard
               Richard Boone
               Hugh O'Brian
               Harry Morgan
               John Carradine

    Setting:  Carson City, Nevada in 1901

    Main Characters:  John Bernard (J. B.) Books
                                    Bond Rogers
                                    Dr. Hostetler
                                    Gillom Rogers
                                    Marshall Thibido

    Contains violence

    Produced by M. J. Frankovich and William Self; Dino de Laurentiis / Paramount

    Screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale

    Based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout

    Music:  Elmer Bernstein

    Special Categories:  Cancer; Gunfighters; Tough Guys; Death and Dying; Doctor / Patient Relationships; Coming of Age; Must See

    Academy Award® Nominations:
        Art Direction - Robert F. Boyle
        Set Decoration - Arthur Jeph Parker


    James Stewart rejected most film offers in the 1970's, but wanted to work with John Wayne again. Stewart played a small role as a doctor and old acquaintance who tells Wayne he is dying of cancer. Wayne was, in real life, dying of cancer, and The Shootist was his last film.


    J. B. Books (John Wayne), a legendary gunfighter, finds has out lived his usefulness as a sixty year old in the more civilized west of 1901. Concerned about the pain in his back, he consults with his old friend, Dr. Hostetler (James Stewart) who diagonoses him with cancer. Rather than die a slow, painful death, Books sets up a meeting with several of his old enemies for a final show down. He boards with Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) while he waits for their arrival, and befriends her teenage son, Gillom (Ron Howard). This movie is John Wayne at his best, and illustrates his great ability as an actor. Highly recommended. ----------Mike Prestwich


    Directed by:  Don Siegel

    Writing credits:  Scott Hale
                                Glendon Swarthout (novel)
                                Miles Hood Swarthout

    Cast (in credits order):
        John Wayne - J.B. Books
        Lauren Bacall - Bond Rogers
        Ron Howard - Gillom Rogers
        James Stewart - Doctor Hostetler
        Richard Boone - Sweeney
        Hugh O'Brian - Pulford
        Bill McKinney - Cobb
        Harry Morgan - Marshal Thibido
        John Carradine - Beckum
        Sheree North - Serepta
        Rick Lenz - Dobkins
        Scatman Crothers - Moses
        Gregg Palmer - Burly Man
        Alfred Dennis - Barber
        Dick Winslow - Streetcar Driver
        Melody Thomas Scott - Girl on Streetcar
        Kathleen O'Malley - Schoolteacher

    Rest of cast (listed alphabetically)
        Johnny Crawford - Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
        Christopher George - Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
        Leo Gordon - Books' victim in flashback (uncredited)
        Ricky Nelson - Books' fellow lawman in flashback (uncredited)

    Produced by:    Dino De Laurentis, executive producer
                               M.J. Frankovich, producer
                               William Self, producer

    Original music:  Elmer Bernstein

    Cinematography:  Bruce Surtees

    Film Editing:  Douglas Stewart

    Production Design:  Robert F. Boyle

    Set Decoration:  Arthur Jeph Parker

    Costume Design:  Luster Bayless, men's costumes
                                   Moss Mabry, Miss Bacall's costumes
                                   Edna Taylor, women's costumes

     Makeup Department:  Joe DiBella, makeup artist
                                            Dave Grayson, makeup artist
                                           Vivienne Walker, hair stylist

    Production Manager:  Russel Saunders, executive production manager

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:  Joseph C. Cavalier, assistant director
                                                                                Joe Florence, second assistant director

    Art Department:  Bill Dietz, property master
                                   Richard Lawrence, assistant art director
                                  Joseph M. LeBaron, construction coordinator

    Sound Department:  Les Fresholtz, sound re-recordist
                                        Michael Minkler, sound re-recording mixer
                                        Al Overton, sound mixer
                                        Arthu Piantadosi, sound re-recordist
                                        Dan Wallin, score mixer

    Special Effects:  Augie Lohman, special effects

    Other crew:  Kenneth Adams, key grip
                           Jack Casey, publicist
                           Eudie Charnes, production coordinator
                           Thomas Del Ruth, camera operator
                           Charles Holmes, gaffer
                           Al Horwits, public relations
                           Jerrold L.Ludwig, assistant editor
                           Richard Mention, assistant camera
                           Betsy Norton, script supervisor
                           Timothy Wade, assistant camera

CHAPTER 2 - Carson City Remembers

    Carson City folks involved in the 1976 filming have great stories to relate. All of them remember John Wayne as a great person and feel privileged to have met him.

Charlene Anderson:  She has copy of original working script from lighting director, signed, and may also have additional photographs and will follow up with the search. Her ex-husband was Carson City Sheriff Deputy and worked as security. He was given the signed script. Also she provided me with a photo of Mr. Wayne in front of the house during filming.

Bill Brown:  Bill was a waiter at the Ormsby House hotel while the crew stayed there and he waited on their group a number of times. He has a wonderful story about the last night for the actors and his doing an impression of Mr. Wayne that got a standing ovation from all those present. He says he still has the signed $100 bill that he got from John Wayne himself. Although from other sources I have found that Mr. Wayne did not give autographs but had an assistant with him all the time, partially due to health concerns, who handed a printed card to John who in turn gave the card to the individual. Since he touched it I suppose that made it more personal.

Edme & Paul Carrington:  They are the former owners of the Krebs-Peterson House, at the time of the filming. Mrs. (Edme) Carrington grew up in the Krebs-Peterson home and moved back years later when she and Paul retired. They were married in the house and spent 10- years living there. Mrs. Carrington got a good bye kiss from John Wayne when they had the crew of the film over for dinner.

    The house was selected when a Hollywood representative rang the doorbell and asked Edme if they could use the house to film a movie. This studio rep just rang the doorbell one day and asked if they would be interested in letting John Wayne make a movie at their house. Without much ado they agreed and craziness ensued. The neighborhood was transformed to the turn of the century, dirt was hauled in to fill the streets, trolley tracks ran by the house. Scenes were also filmed near the shed in the back yard, with the Sierras as a back drop.

    Mrs. Carrington recalls the filming began in January and it was cold. The trolley was a motorized unit brought out from Hollywood for the film.

    They had a dinner at the house one evening, catered by the “Hollywood” crowd, James Stewart attended, entertainment provided by Red Skelton and a “bevy” of Hollywood ladies was brought in for the party.

Bill Hance:  Bill was a union crafts-person who had many duties and may have access to some old photos from the film. The horses and wagons used in the film were kept at Fuji Park during the shooting of the film. The opening scene with the wagon approaching Carson City was shot on the Snyder Ranch in Jack’s Valley. Others have said that there were some scenes shot at Walleys Hot Springs in Douglas County and the Harvey Gross Ranch in that area as well...?

Jack Justice:  Jack worked with and traveled with John Wayne for 8 years. Ron Howard was a newlywed at the time. After each shot he was in concluded, he would rush off to be with his bride at the Ormsby House hotel where they were staying. He also was reluctant to give autographs even to young children who thought of him as the Mayberry character, “Opie”.

Sue Morrow:  She was at one time editor of the Appeal, and was acting editor at the time of the filming. Sue was present during shooting at Walley’s Hot Springs.

    From a close visual inspection there were a number of scenes represented as Carson City but were actually in Carson Valley and Genoa. The scene with J.B. Books teaching Ron Howard learning to shoot can be seen in front of homes obviously in Genoa but were supposedly the backyard of the house on Mountain Street. She partnered with another reporter from this area.
This is how young Morrison looked when he played on the U.S.C. Frosh Squad.

Marilyn Newton:  Marilyn worked as a reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal before it was called that. On assignment, she was honored to be able to work with John Wayne, one of her childhood heroes. From what she says, John was a tad leery of the media and took pains to avoid interaction with members of this profession. It must be remembered that at the time (1976) John Wayne’s politics were seen as quite conservative and decidedly pro-American, so his beliefs were a bit unpopular. The war in Vietnam was featured in one of his earlier films, the Green Berets one of his more controversial movies in terms of public sentiment. So she was surprised to be so well received by Mr. Wayne and was allowed to hang out and access most areas during filming. She did a number of “photo pages” for the newspaper and will try to locate them for us, although copyright issues may arise, we would like access to these photos.

Dale Ryan:  Dale has some good “mechanical” aspects of the filming to share. The trolley tracks that were laid for the motorized trolley that was brought from Hollywood. They ran west on Robinson Street to Mountain Street and then south past the Krebs-Peterson House and then east on Spear Street. Most shots were in the area of the boarding house itself but there were some scenes in downtown Carson along Curry Street. From his information I understand that “trees” were placed in strategic spots to hide the obvious modern buildings.

    Filming took place in Feb and March and the streets that were filmed had sand hauled in to hide the black top. The Savage Construction Company was contracted to handle this job by Leroy Winters.

Johnny and Kenny Sam:  Johnny was houseman at the Ormbsy House during the time that the crew and staff were quartered there. He has some interesting stories about John Wayne and his overall health and attitude while he was in Carson for the filming. Some of the stories are slightly unsettling... alcohol and problems associated with his declining health. A good source and willing to go on camera. Some not so flattering stories about Ms. Bacall and her poodle with a rhinestone collar and its antics in the hotel corridors. Not a big tipper, either, from all those we talked with.

Donna Schultz:  Donna is a member of the Carson Rotary Club and was just 17 when she watched the filming. John Wayne called her “little lady.”

CHAPTER 3 - Photo Memories

1.    Several folks were kind enough to share their photographs of that time. Among them are a series by Gladys Brister, who was with the Carson City Sheriff’s Department at the time and worked on security for the film:


2.    The Nevada State Museum is the lucky recipient of these Daun Bohall photographs:


CHAPTER 4 - Afterward

    John Wayne was an international star, loved the world around.


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