It was at this level that Wayne grew stressed. He did not need to make small-scale Westerns. He yearned for the epic scope of Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo” and John Ford’s “The Searchers.” He discovered this challenge in Mark Rydell’s “The Cowboys,” which was primarily based on a novel by William Dale Jennings. The story of an growing older rancher pressured to rent a bunch of adolescents to drive cattle over a tough 400-mile path stretching from Montana to South Dakota was an ideal companion piece to “True Grit.” Much less becoming was Jennings’ background. The creator, a World Conflict II veteran (one thing Wayne famously was not), was an brazenly homosexual man who co-founded the Mattachine Society. Wayne’s emotions on homosexuality had been precisely as uncharitable as his views on racial justice.
Wayne both did not know or did not care about Jennings’ sexual desire. Of chief significance to him was the story, which entailed him turning a bunch of recalcitrant whippersnappers into first-rate cowboys. Jennings, nevertheless, who’d been concerned within the adaptation course of together with the screenwriting duo of Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., wished no a part of Wayne. He’d written the character of Wil Andersen for George C. Scott.
Rydell concurred. In accordance with Scott Eyman’s “John Wayne: The Life and Legend,” the director dug his heels in till the star lastly broke down his defenses.
“‘I didn’t need John Wayne for ‘The Cowboys,” stated director Mark Rydell. ‘However Warners was closely invested in John Wayne, with whom I used to be at polar opposites politically and emotionally and each potential approach. I didn’t admire him. However he seduced me mercilessly. ‘I promise you I’ll do the perfect job I probably can,’ he stated. ‘Let’s not discuss something however performing. Not politics or faith, simply performing.’ He utterly gained me over and I agreed he ought to play the half.'”