He rode a mean horse. He carried a shotgun and a brace of pistols, and in most of his movies, he was pretty good with his fists, which meant he could punch out the bad guy’s lights without working up a sweat.
Too bad his parents saddled him with a girl’s name. Marion Morrison wasn’t a good name for a movie star. Especially, if he planned on specializing in tough guy roles.
Johnny Cash could very well have lifted the idea for "A Man Named Sue" from John Wayne’s life story. I have no doubt that name turned Wayne into the tough son-of-a-bitch that he became.
Not too long ago, another bad ass named David Morrell wrote a short book about John Wayne. And, let me assure you, David knows a thing or two about tough guys. If you don't recognize the name, David is the man who wrote First Blood. That book unleashed John Rambo on the world.
Johnny Rambo was a Vietnam veteran, who suffered from PTSD. In the book, Rambo got pushed a little too hard by a local sheriff because he had long hair. All I can tell you is big mistake. Rambo took out most of that town before he got taken down.
John Wayne came from the same stock as John Rambo.
He didn't take shit. From anyone.
I crossed paths with David Morrell back in the late 1970s when he taught Classical American Literature at the University of Iowa. The only grudge I hold against David is that he made me read Moby Dick.
If you never read Moby Dick, it’s this crazy ass book that rambles on and on for hundreds of pages about sperm. (snicker! snicker!) Or, more realistically about the sperm from a sperm whale. Only it wasn’t sperm. It was the white, waxy goo the sailors extracted from the whale’s head.