When her father is murdered by one of his employees, Tom Chaney, young Mattie Ross is determined to see justice done. It seems the justice system isn't up to the job so she has to hire a man with "true grit" to track Chaney down. She hires a one-eyed drunk known as Deputy Marshal Rooster Cogburn, to find the man and see him punished. She and Rooster are joined in the hunt by Texas Ranger Le Boeuf who is after Chaney for the killing of a Waco senator and his bird-dog.
Normally I don't watch Westerns, but this one is special. The script is well written and funny and the acting is inspired. Mattie is a serious and efficient young woman who stands for no nonsense; trained to be her father's bookkeeper, she drives a hard bargain and isn't about to be gulled by anyone. She expresses herself clearly and precisely in clipped sentences, avoiding the use of contractions, rarely laughs and doesn't appear to appreciate jokes. But she's very funny, and so is Rooster. She introduces herself to Rooster in a court house where he's just been cross-examined by a defence lawyer - one of the professionals he refers to as "pettifogging lawyers". The meaning of the word "pettifogging" can't be found in an English dictionary but seems clear enough in context: clouding or fogging the issue; extinguishing clarity - that sort of thing - in order to help the guilty evade justice . The dialogue is unusually articulate for a Western. The "true grit" turns out to be equally distributed between Mattie, Rooster and Le Boeuf. During the course of the mission, the three come to respect each other and Rooster and Mattie develop something close to a father/daughter relationship. It's an excellent film with wonderful characters.