When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson’s restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it.
User Reviews: I’ve never really explored the western genre, and plucked this one from the IMDb top 250.
It’s a cracking film that I really enjoyed, and one which I now understand why people debate so much.
What struck me though, was how tall the leads are! I’m used to seeing Stewart towering over everybody, but putting him with an astonishingly good Marvin (6′ 3") and of course the towering Duke (6′ 4 1/2") must make this the tallest cast ever until the Green Mile came along!
I’ve seen more than one person say that Stewart was twenty years too old for this role. I don’t agree, and thought he was fairly convincing in this. There’s also nothing to say how old his character was on arriving in Shinbone.