Sunday Seconds with the Duke

The Searchers (1956)

Episode #27

Warner Bros. released The Searchers to theaters on May 26, 1956. John Ford directs the western which stars John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, and Vera Miles.

‘The Searchers’ Movie Summary

In 1868, Ethan Edwards returns to his brother Aaron’s home in the wilderness of West Texas after the Civil War. He’s a nasty racist, and possibly wanted for several crimes. Aaron resides in the home with his two daughters Debbie and Lucy, his son Ben, a somewhat adopted son Martin Pawley, and his loving wife, Martha. She appears to harbor deep affection for Ethan; possibly unbeknownst to Aaron.

Shortly after Ethan arrives, Indians steal cattle belonging to his neighbor Lars Jorgensen. When a group of Rangers follow their trail, they discover the Comanche stole the cattle to draw the men away from their families. The blood-thirsty savages then attack the unprotected homesteads.

When the returns home, they find Aaron’s homestead in flames. Aaron, Martha, and their son, Ben, are dead. The Comanche chief, Scar, spares Debbie’s, and her older sister Lucy’s, lives; holding them captive. Ethan and Martin begin a five year search to find the girls, and the killer, Scar.

After finding Lucy dead, the men head to New Mexico. There, a Mexican man delivers them to Scar. They find Debbie, now an adolescent, living as one of Scar’s wives. She’s now a Comanche, and she asks them to leave without her.

Unfortunately for her, Ethan would rather see her dead than living as an Indian. As he goes to shoot her, Martin shields her with his body. Distracted; a Comanche shoots Ethan with an arrow.

The men return home to regroup. Months later, Ethan’s half-crazy friend, Mose Harper, arrives and says he knows Scar’s location. The townsfolk form another posse, and they attach the Comanche camp. Martin kills Scar, and Ethan scalps him. When Ethan spots Debbie in the melee, Ethan chases after her, but instead of killing her, home carries her home.

The film ends with one of the most iconic images in film history. Ethan walks slowly away from the cabin, alone and clutching his arm. He is forever the outcast; stuck between the civilized world and the savage frontier that has made him the man he is.

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Warner Bros. released The Searchers on May 26, 1956. John Ford directed the film starring John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, and Vera Miles.

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  1. Surprised this was reviewed because of the previous podcast on it. Also surprised none of you had heard of Rules of the Game, Ive seen it near the top of pretty much every critics poll of greatest films of all time in the last 30 years. I recommend you look closely at the top one hundred on sight and sound, gives you a better idea of what the worlds critics consider the great films(they love l’aventura, a Chris pick)
    I prefer grand illusion to rules of the game(same Director)

    1. I find it funny that Shane is a host on this show. From the beginning he’s said he doesn’t like Wayne and isn’t into classic older films in general.and basically sticks to that line every week. This would be like having Patrick co host a podcast dedicated to musicals. Guess you like torturing him.

    2. I will check out that list and see how many I agree with! I think we re-reviewed this one more to get Shane to watch one of the best Wayne films. He’s just not going to like Wayne…as you said in your other comment…maybe we do like torturing him, but then he got us to watch Heaven’s Gate, so I think we are even!

      1. What is the next Wayne film you’re reviewing? Seems like you’ve done all his most famous films. As far as greatest westerns go, I’ve seen the Wild Bunch near the top of many lists, are you a fan of it?

        1. We are doing another 1932 movie; Ride Em’ Cowboy. The Wild Bunch is a great film! I should get is on one of our reviews in 2018.

          1. Yeah…I think I have the most room on my list for Westerns of everyone…the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is also on my top 100.

          2. Other westerns that deserve to counted among the best of the genre: Shane, My Darling Clementine, and Winchester ’73

          3. There are a lot of good westerns to review! If I had the time, I’d do a podcast just for them…maybe if we end Sunday Seconds someday.

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