Thought by many to be director John Ford's masterpiece, 'The Searchers' tells the story of Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), an ex-confederate soldier who swears revenge after his brother's family is butchered by Comanches and his niece (Natalie Wood) is kidnapped. Accompanied by Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), a young foundling raised by the family, Ethan sets out on a epic seven-year search for the missing girl. But as their quest draws to a close, Martin begins to realise the extent to which Ethan has been dehumanised by his own thirst for revenge.
A favourite film of some of the world's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, John Ford's The Searchers
has earned its place in the legacy of great American films for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most notably, it's the definitive role for John Wayne as an icon of the classic Western--the hero (or antihero) who must stand alone according to the unwritten code of The West. The story takes place in Texas in 1868; Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Confederate veteran who visits his brother and sister-in-law at their ranch and is horrified when they are killed by marauding Comanches. Ethan's search for a surviving niece (played by young Natalie Wood) becomes an all-consuming obsession. With the help of a family friend (Jeffrey Hunter) who is himself part-Cherokee, Ethan hits the trail on a five-year quest for revenge. At the peak of his masterful talent, director Ford crafts this classic tale as an embittered examination of racism and blind hatred, provoking Wayne to give one of the best performances of his career. As with many of Ford's classic Westerns, The Searchers
must contend with revisionism in its stereotypical treatment of "savage" Native Americans, and the film's visual beauty (the final shot is one of the great images in all of Western culture) is compromised by some uneven performances and stilted dialogue. Still, this is undeniably one of the greatest Westerns ever made. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.