The Duke's Most Personal film
Whatever you think of John Wayne's politics, they're are sure served up enter-
tainingly in this film. At first glance this is just The Taming of the Shrew
set out west. And it's good comedy, but there's far more to it.
The characters created in the film by Robert Lowery, Strother Martin, and Jerry
Van Dyke are Wayne's view of what liberals are. The political hack governor
(Lowery), the know-it-all college kid(Van Dyke), and the meddling bureaucrat
(Martin), are the villains of this piece. Wayne, by contrast, is the conservative hero, the self-made millionaire who is also a wise and benevolent
employer. Government is the cause of all the problems here, from re-settling
the Indians to opening the range to the homesteaders.
Wayne also lectures us on economics and social stratification in his talk with
Pat Wayne about him working for the Duke and the Duke in turn working for
"everyone who goes to a butcher shop for T-Bone steak."
The Duke slipped a lot more of his personal views into this film than in others that were out and out propaganda.
The movie is great fun, but it's also sad in a way. This takes place in the
never-neverland of the Hollywood western. Cattle barons, robber barons, just
weren't as noble as John Wayne would have you believe in the Gilded Age. He
could never have made this film in a setting remotely grounded in reality.
But if nothing else Wayne was a man true to his convictions. It was the projection of his own integrity that the audiences loved about him.
Watch McLintock, enjoy McLintock, it's great entertainment. However look at it
with a critical eye.