Stagecoach

  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Walter Wanger
  • Writers: Ernest Haycox, Dudley Nichols, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Action, Western, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine, George Bancroft

In Arizona Territory in 1880, a motley group of strangers boards the east-bound stagecoach to Lordsburg, New Mexico Territory. Among them is Dallas (Claire Trevor), a prostitute who is being driven out of town by the members of the “Law and Order League”; an alcoholic doctor, Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell); Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt), who is traveling to see her cavalry officer husband; and whiskey salesman Samuel Peacock (Donald Meek).

When the stage driver, Buck (Andy Devine), looks for his normal shotgun guard, he is told by Marshal Curly Wilcox (George Bancroft) that he has gone out to look for a fugitive, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne). Buck tells Marshal Wilcox that Luke Plummer (Tom Tyler) is in Lordsburg. Knowing that the Kid has vowed to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at Plummer’s hands, the marshal decides to ride along.

As they start to pull out, U.S. cavalry Lieutenant Blanchard (Tim Holt) informs them that Geronimo and his Apaches are on the warpath, and that they will have no escort until they get to Dry Fork. Gambler and Southern gentleman Hatfield (John Carradine) joins them to provide protection for Mrs. Mallory. At the edge of town, the stage is flagged down by pompous banker Henry Gatewood, (Berton Churchill), who is sneaking away with $50,000 embezzled from his bank.

When the passengers finally arrive in Lordsburg, Gatewood is arrested by the local sheriff, and Lucy is told that her husband’s wound is not serious. Dallas begs Ringo not to go up against the Plummers, but he is determined to settle matters. In the ensuing shootout, the Kid dispatches Luke and his two brothers. He returns to Wilcox, expecting to go back to jail. He asks the lawman to take Dallas to his ranch. However, when Ringo gets on a wagon to say goodbye to her, Curly and Doc laugh and start the horses moving, letting him “escape”.

High Noon

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer, Carl Foreman
  • Writers: John W Cunningham, Carl Foreman
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly

Will Kane (Gary Cooper), the longtime Marshal of Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, has just married pacifist Quaker Amy (Grace Kelly), turned in his badge, and is preparing to move away to become a storekeeper. Soon after, the town learns that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal Kane brought to justice, is due to arrive on the noon train. Miller had been sentenced to the gallows, but was pardoned for reasons never stated in the film. In court, he had vowed to get revenge on Kane and anyone who got in his way. His three gang members wait for him at the station. The worried townspeople encourage Kane to leave, hoping to defuse the situation.

Kane and his wife leave, but Kane has a crisis of conscience and turns back. He reclaims his badge and tries to swear in help, but it becomes clear that no one is willing to get involved. His deputy, Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges), resigns. Only his former lover, Helen RamГ­rez (Katy Jurado), supports him, but there is little she can do to help. Disgusted, she sells her business and prepares to leave town. His wife threatens to leave on the noon train with or without him, but he stubbornly refuses to give in.

In the end, Kane faces the four gunmen alone. He guns down two of Miller’s men, though he himself is wounded. Helen Ramirez and Amy both board the train, but Amy gets off when she hears the sound of gunfire. Amy chooses her husband’s life over her religious beliefs and kills the third gunman by shooting him in the back. Miller then takes her hostage and offers to trade her for Kane. Kane agrees, coming out into the open. Amy, however, claws Miller’s face, causing him to release her. Kane then shoots and kills him. Then, as the cowardly townspeople emerge, Kane contemptuously throws his marshal’s star in the dirt and leaves town with his wife.