Our first ever “Watch with History” segment compares the 1969 and 2010 versions of the movie “True Grit.” While the 2010 version has better cinematography, we prefer the characters and humor in the 1969 version. Both versions follow the story of a young girl seeking revenge for her father’s murder in the American Old West. The movie captures the spirit of the frontier and explores themes of determination, loyalty, and redemption.
Video version: History of True Grit
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True Grit Old vs New
Scott: welcome to Talk With History. I’m your host Scott here with my wife and historian, Jen. Hello. Today’s podcast is the first in a brand new series we are calling Watch with History.
Scott: The Watch with history series will focus on your favorite historical films where Jen and I will review the Hollywood historic classics we all know and love, while also discussing the history behind these. Films along with some interesting facts. We hope you enjoy watch with history.
[00:01:39] First Watch With History
Watch intro video: 3, 2, 1. Here we go.
Scott: Now Jen, the first watch with History episode is leading off with the man himself, one of your favorites.
Yes. And Mr. John Wayne and one of one of his more popular movies. Yes, and it is. It is True Grit. So what we are actually doing today, we’re covering today, is the 1969. I’m calling it the Old True Grit versus the 2010. New true grit. So there’s two, it was made twice. Yes. And we’ll get into the details and everything else surrounding it. But let’s start off with the 1969 True Grit. Okay.
True Grit 1969: Says Life Magazine true grit is good enough for me. It’s good enough for you. And if it isn’t good enough for some movie company, then the free enterprise system is really going to help. Hold on God. They tell me you’re a man with true grit. What do you want? Speak up. Roy Wrinkle the paper. It’s pretty loose because your makings are too dry.
I’m looking for Tom Cheney. Who is he? He’s the man that shot and killed my father. Frank Ross says The New York Times as touching as it is, irreverently amusing. Marshall Luster. Cogburn and I are going after the murderer. Tom Cheney. How did you light on that greasy vaon? They say he has grit. He’s a notorious thumper.
He’s not a man I would care to share a bed with, nor would I. And now Paramount Pictures presents the Hal Wallace production True Grit,
starring John Wayne as Rooster Cockburn, the most colorful character he’s ever played. If I smelled as bad as you, I wouldn’t live near people. Kim Derby as Matt Ross. Hey here. Bye. God. C reminds me of me, Glenn Campbell, in his first big screen roll A little earlier I gaz some thought to stealing a kiss from you.
Although you are very young and you’re unattractive to boot, but now I’m of a mind to give you five or six good licks with my belt.
[00:04:07] 1969 True Grit
Scott: True Grit was originally a book that was written by Charles Portis in 1968 with the movie adaptation with John Wayne being released just a year later in 1969. The book is known for its humorous and colorful characters, as well as its depiction of the rugged and violent American West.
Now, the original True Grit released in 1969 was directed by Henry Hathaway and it Star John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glenn Campbell, who will talk a little bit about and actually features featured a very young Dennis Hopper. The film was based on the novel and tells a story of a young girl, Maddie Ross.
Seeking revenge for her father’s murder. With the help of the gruff US Marshall Rooster Cogburn along the way, they are joined by a Texas Ranger named LeBeouf. Who’s also hunting the same man for a different crime Now, the original True Grit was a box off of success earning just over 31 million domestically in its initial release, which was a significant amount of money back in 19 60, 69, adjusted for inflation.
That would be the equivalent of about 230 million in 2023. Wow. That’s a good. And it actually only cost about 3 million to make back then. Yeah, you can see that so they did pre it did pretty well. Now this classic Western was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, best Actor for John Wayne.
Best supporting Actor for Dennis Hopper. And best music score. John Wayne won the Oscar for best actor for his role as Rooster Cogburn, which was his first and only Academy Award win.
Oscars: Inside is one of the following names, all of whom have been nominated for the best performance by an actor. Peter O’Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, John Hoyt in Midnight Cowboy, Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days and John Wayne in True Grit.
I’m not gonna tell you the winner is. John Wayne.
Wow. I’ve known that I’d have put that patch on 35 years earlier.
Scott: So Jen, can you, before you tell us what you think of this movie, cuz we can tell that you already enjoy it just by the glow coming off of you.
Can you give us a little bit of the, the historical setting of when this movie was set?
Jenn: Sure. When they talk. About her and her father in the West. And then when Cogburn meets the buff for the first time, they ask of what did you do in the war? Yeah. Where were you in the war?
That’s a very significant thing at that time in the 1880s to be asking people, cuz everyone fought in the Civil War, and of course he’s from Texas, so of course he’s asking what side he is on Texas as a Confederate state. Yeah. But parts of Texas fought for the North, so he’s asking, he wants to just know where his allegiance lies, and they both talk about.
Who they fought for. Yeah. More than what their leaders. It comes up a couple times. Yes. Yeah. So we’re in the 20 years after the Civil War when the West is really being settled. It’s
Scott: The late 1870s, early 1880s. Yes. 1880s, right around that time. And
Jenn: it’s taking place, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Yep. So this is, Western expansion.
Scott: Yeah. Then Oklahoma, I think
Jenn: we need, so they’re gonna venture into Oklahoma, which is very much territories, American Indian territory. And that is why it’s so significant that Rooster Cogburn is a Marshall Yeah. A US Marshall and La Beef is a Ranger. So the law is very much getting useful at this time, the kind of writing the law at this time.
How do you govern a lawless wilderness
Scott: area? Yeah. In the, it seems like at this time in the more populated areas that kind of. For lack of a better word, that civil contract between the people and the law and the government is solidifying. Yes.
True Grit 1969: Sworn this morning, you’re still sworn take the stand. Defense will cross examine.
Mr. Cogburn, you testified for the prosecution this morning. Now, in order to refresh our memories, Allow me to summarize what you said. Now, according to your story, CC Wharton grabbed up a shotgun and killed Marshall Padlet, and then he turned the gun on you, you say, and you shot him. Then you say the father swung his axe and you shot him too.
The defendant here tried to run, you say, and you also shot him, just winged him, or he wouldn’t be here to pay up the old man and CC hit the ground dead. How long have you been a Deputy Marshall, Mr. Cogburn? Four years. Come March. How many men have you shot in that time? The prosecution objects overruled.
How many men have you shot since you became a marshal? Mr. Cogburn? I never shot nobody. I didn’t have to. That was not the question. How many, uh, Shot or killed. Oh, let’s restricted to killed. So we may have a manageable figure. Well, 12 to 15. Stopping men in flight and defending myself. 12 to 15. So many that you cannot keep a specific count.
Scott: But there is still these just like wild west areas, outlaws. And that’s where Rooster Cogburn and Maddie Ross. She picks him because he, I think she, I’m pretty sure she picks him and I don’t think she’s not. She doesn’t really hide it because he’s more likely To shoot the guy. Yes. To kill the guy that she’s after.
Jenn: Yeah. And go after the person. So Maddie, if you realize She’s very dictated. Yeah, she’s very much following rule of law lawyer.
Scott: Yeah. She brings up her in the original, the 1969 version. She brings up the lawyer a lot
True Grit 1969: I will not be pushed about when I’m in the right. I’ll take it up with my attorney now. I will take it up with mine, lawyer Dagget and he will make money. And I will make money and your lawyer will make money and you, Mr. licensed auctioneer You will foot the bill. You are damn nuisance Lawyer.
Dagget lawyer Dagget, who is this famous pleader, whose name I was happily ignorant of 10 minutes ago?
Jenn: In the West.
Yes. We’re trying to adhere to a territory. We’re trying to adhere to a federal system where the judge has a jury and we bring people in, but it’s still very loose. Yeah. People are getting killed and interfacing. That’s what Rooster Cogburn is known for, is he doesn’t really bring people in as much as he just kills them.
That’s, so that’s
Scott: the court case. That’s the court case. So that’s the court case and one of the things. And we’ll just dive into kind of how we felt and what we thought, through the movie for the 1969 version. But John Wayne played much more of a character to me Yes.
In this he played to me, and I’ve been watching a bunch of John Wayne movies recently, so that’s a future watch with this history episode coming up. But he played, more, a little bit more comedic role.
[00:11:36] More character for John Wayne
True Grit 1969: You are a lot of trouble. Wait till I finish this hand.
You can never tell what’s in the Chinaman’s mind. That’s the way he best yet. Cards
Mr. Rat, I have a writ here, says to stop eating Chan’s corn meal fourth with now it’s a rat writ rit for a rat, and this is lawful service of same. See, doesn’t pay any attention to me
outside is place for shooting. I’m serving some papers.
Scott: But he played that out. He was a little bit more of an out.
Outward expressive character. Yes. This kind of drunk, gruff. Yes. Western, like probably an outlaw in some states, and then now he’s a US Marshall.
Jenn: So it’s very much like you’re very much skirting the letter of the law. Yeah. And that’s why Rooster Cogburn knows what she’s talking about with the lawyer and stuff, but he’s also laughing at her like, I, that’s great.
That’s not gonna work here. Did you think that someone’s gonna. Care about your lawyer, but that’s not gonna work here. And you’re also dealing with a lot of other stereotypes. He lives with an Asian man, Yep. Which, the Asian people had come over to help dig the railroad Yep. And start the railroad.
So it’s very much these stereotypes
Scott: that he’s, and he I loved the cat. Yeah. He called the cat. Like the general the general. So he’s sleeping in like the back of this, this China man’s shop. Yeah. That’s where he lives, that’s where he lives, in this. In this town and he plays cards and drinks with the China man.
And then he calls the cat the general, and that’s just what he does. He goes after bad guys and drinks.
Jenn: Then one of the first things she does when she gets to Fort Smith, which is like the city close to her, is as a hanging. Yeah. As a public hanging.
[00:13:41] The Hanging
Scott: So that was interesting to me and.
When I watched the 69 version, my first thought was like, oh my gosh, was that what it was really like? Was did, so did people, if you haven’t seen the 1969 version in quite some time, They, she comes into town and she’s trying to see the coroner and they’re like coroner’s out at the hanging because he’s expecting three more bodies.
And these bodies that are about to be hung. And the whole town’s out there, the whole town. People had come into town for this hanging people, selling kids. Kids were penis playing kids. People were selling peanuts. They were singing hymns. So is that relatively accurate at the time?
That’s fairly really accurate. Yeah. That cause that’s entertainment That surprised me and I don’t know, it’s just because I’ve never really watched movies like this, but that was one of the things I remember jotting that down was like, is that what it was really like? So
Jenn: I thought that was very, if it was public, and you still are getting public hangings in the 1880s until prisons.
Are really made. Yeah. And when executions will happen inside a prison it will be public until. That happens. So you’re getting in those, in these territories, in these settled territories where they’re holding court. And it is one of those things where you’re found guilty and you’re walked outside and hanged.
It’s not where you have this stay of execution and you’re waiting and it’s none of that. It’s just like you’re found guilty and now you have to hang. It’s very expedient. Cause they don’t have the time or the resources to hold people.
Scott: Yeah, there’s no giant. Federal prisons and all that stuff.
They’re like, okay, you’re guilty. You’re gonna go hang.
Jenn: Yes. And so she sees that right away. She sees Rooster, Cogburn testify. He’s very truthful. Yeah. Even in his shortcomings. He’s very truthful. Yeah. He’s very colorful. And he entertains her and he listens to her. And and he also, I think, recognizes.
Who the bad guy is or who he might be
Scott: running with, who might be running with it’s like something Pepper, Ned Pepper. Yeah.
Jenn: Ned Pepper. So he knows, he recognizes the guy.
Scott: He’s oh, he’s probably, he probably linked up, or I think she tells him, yeah, that she heard that he linked up with Ned Pepper and he is oh, Ned Pepper.
I know that guy. And then he knows
Jenn: he’ll go to Indian territory, which he then he knows as a Marshall. You’re the only one who has jurisdiction Yeah. Of her Indian territory. So he’s willing to go in there and look for him because she’s paying cash. Yeah. Too. Which they don’t make that much money.
I think it’s $2 a ahead per person.
Scott: Yeah. And I, and he’s paying, I enjoyed dollars. I enjoyed in the original, even though her character, I think we both agree that the twenty ten one, that the girl was a better actor, but the better actor and younger the 69 1, the dialogue I felt was actually good and a little bit more believable.
She was very aggressive, very, just like you could tell. It used to be her father running the house. And now it was her. Yes. And you could absolutely see this 14 year old girl running a household.
True Grit 1969: They are all for sale, except those, uh, four scrubby ones and, uh, who they belong to. The heirs of the late Frank Ross. I’m Maddie Ross and I’d like to sell you back those ponies that my father bought. I fear that is outta the question. My father bought those ponies for breeding. Now I’ve looked at them and they’re all geldings.
You cannot breed geldings. Oh, that hardly concerns me. Your father bought four ponies and paid a hundred dollars for them, and there’s an end of it. I want $300 for Papa Saddle Horse that was stolen from your barn. You’ll have to take that up with the man who stole it. Tom Cheney stole it while it was in your care.
You are responsible. I admire your son, but I’m not liable. I will take it to the law. Well, you must do us. You ain’t best. We will see if a widow and three small children can get fair treatment in the courts of this city.
Scott: She’s dealing with the horse trader. She’s very book smart and she’s dealing with.
Ru Cogburn. She dealt with LA beef. Yeah. At the Yes. At the she’s
Jenn: talking to the lady at the boarding house. Yep. And so the boarding house is also very accurate. What a boarding house would look like. And shacking up her grandma. Yeah.
Scott: Everybody’s sitting around the table.
Sitting around the
[00:17:41] Glenn Campbell
Jenn: table to eat. Yep. And you pay for the meal Yeah. Of the evening. So that is all accurate and well done. I think, and that’s what she meets LeBeouf. Who’s Glenn Campbell, who is a singer at the time. Yeah. So I didn’t realize that. Yeah, he’s not really an actor. He’s a singer and he’s a pretty well-known country singer.
And they had gone after Elvis Presley I think when had read. But Elvis wanted top boy, El Elvis’s Management wanted top billing over John Wayne. And they’re like, that ain’t happening. So it was John Wayne actually approached Glen Campbell. Yeah. And asked him to be ated. And Glen Campbell was like, yeah.
And I like Kim. I think he does a fair job. Yeah. I
Scott: warmed up. I, for him, I feel like I warmed up to him. Eventually. And they played up in the 1969 version. A little bit more of a potential, not really romantic, but like she was like initially interested but then disgusted because he was just this Texas ranger who was talking down to her like she was a little girl.
And then later on Yeah, she actually was like trying to care for him. Yeah. And you could tell that she might. May have some feelings, and I think it was more just born out of the hardship that all three of them had gone through
Jenn: together. Yeah. And I actually like his character. I like, I think Matt Damon plays him better in the 2010 version, but I like that his character, I.
Dies in the 1969 version. Yeah. A little more realistic because he dies, he saves them. Yeah. And then he dies. And he really he is also, I think, someone who has true grit. Like he’s showing that he doesn’t he’s all in and then he dies, and you get the backstory that Rooster Cogburn goes back for his body, puts him in his full.
Ranger uniform takes him back to Texas and Leif’s talking up about some girl, some sweetheart that he has, and Rooster says, no sweetheart ever showed up. Yeah. So there’s more of that story that you get , in the 1969 version than in the 2010. And I liked that too. They’re filmed in different areas as well.
They were the 1969 version is filmed in Colorado. Okay. And and then the, this version, the 20 10, 20 10 is New Mexico. Okay? So you get. Different backdrops and scenery. But I know the, what’s interesting about the 1969 version, it is, it comes out right after the book.
[00:19:54] John Wayne wanted this role
Jenn: Yep. And the book’s a big deal. And John Wayne loved the book. And then the person who wrote the screenplay, he loved the screenplay. Oh, okay. And he. He gunned for the part. He wanted that part. Oh, interesting. And so when he finally did get the part, I think I told you this, he thinks one of the best scenes ever written was the one where he’s up on the mountain with Maddie and they’re talking about his past life.
True Grit 1969: How’d you lose your eye? I was in the war, the loan jack, little scrap outside of Kansas City. What’d you do after the war? I robbed me a federal paymaster and went to Cairo, Illinois and bought a eating place there called the Green Frog. Married a grass widow place, had a billard table. You never told me you had a wife.
Oh, well I didn’t have her long. My friends was a pack of river rats and. She didn’t crave their so- society, so she up and left men, went back to her first husband who was clerking in the hardware store in Paducah. Goodbye Ruben. She says, A love of decency does not abide in you. That’s a divorced woman talking for you about decency.
Well, I told her, I said, goodbye Nola. And. I hope that nail selling bastard makes you happy this time. Did you have any children? Hmm? There was a boy, Nola taking him with her.
He never liked me anyway. A clumsier child you’ll never see than Horace. I bet he broke 40 cup. Never did get you for stealing that money. I didn’t consider it. Stealing didn’t belong to you. I needed a road stake. It was like that little high interest bank in New Mexico needed a road stake, and there it was.
I never robbed no citizen taking a man’s watch. It’s all stealing. That’s the position them new Mexicans took. I had to flee for my life. Suppose a young colt then, no horse could run him into the ground. When that posse thinned out, uh, I turned old bo around and taken them reins in my teeth. I charged them boys firing two Navy six s.
They must have all been married men that loved their families cause they scattered and run for a home.
Jenn: With his ex-wife and his son, horse, and he’s talks about his shortcomings. Yeah. Basically. And he thinks that’s a great. One of the best scenes ever written. And so you see John Wayne really, making a character here and you see the real humanization of him.
Scott: Yeah. And that’s one of the things, again, having watched a fair amount of John Wayne movies recently, this was the first time that I saw, More backstory for his character. He’s not just John Wayne, with a different name, who can knock out a guy in one punch and he’s like the bigger, he’s taller and bigger than everybody and tougher than everybody.
Like he’s talking about his deficiencies. His, like you said, his shortcomings. And that’s what really. Builds a true character in a movie like this. Yes. And I think that’s, that has to be one of the reasons that, aside from everything else the great lines and all some of the classic one liners that come out of it That’s one of the things I think that really put, probably put him over the top for the Oscar.
[00:23:32] The Best Scene
Jenn: And of course he has the best scene and he’s gonna have the best scene in this 1969 version and the 2010 version where it hits him against four. Yeah. And that is by far Rooster Cogburn’s best scene because it shows you how brave this man is and just, is it stupid? Is it brave or it’s his job, but he doesn’t back
Farrell, you and your brother stand clear. I got no interest in you today. Stand clear and you won’t get hurt.
What’s your intention? Do you think? One on four is a dog Fall. I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned, or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker’s convenience. Which will it be? I call that bull talk for a one eyed fat man. Fill your hand. You son of a bitch.
They’re too far. They’re moving too fast.
No grit Rooster Cogburn, not much.
Scott: , and the interesting part is he talks about how he had done this before with one on seven or something like that. Yeah. And he was just like, oh yeah, those men, this must have loved their wives because they turn around and ran, and if you charge hard enough and they’ll run away.
And so then all of a sudden at the, towards the end of the movie when, Katie Ross’s has been rescued and now it’s him versus Ned Pepper and the other in his gang, the other gang members. Ned Pepper’s sitting there oh, he’s sitting there all cocky thinking, Mr.
Cogman’s gonna turn around and run. And he’s what are you doing over there? He’s I am to kill you in about a minute. And then you see Ned Pepper, just do this double take wait, what did he just say? Yeah. And then he just you realize he settles in to start getting ready for a fight and he actually insults him.
He’s look that’s pretty big talk from a fat man with one eye. Yeah. And then he I’ve actually clipped this before he says, I think he says, fill your hands. You son of a bitch. Yeah. And
Jenn: then he, so it’s get your guns ready. Yeah. He’s like brave. And I like, even before that, he tells the other people, I have no beef with you.
Yeah. So if you wanna leave, you should leave now. Yeah. He was just going for Ned Pepper. I’m just going for Ned Pepper. So if you wanna stay, it’s up to you, but I’m telling you, you can leave. Yep. And so I like that he’s, it’s very, brave. Yeah. A stupid brave. I don’t know. But so now they all stay, so it’s four against one.
Scott: then he throws those reigns in his mouth. He just gets going and he going, he charges them. And it was, and they’re watching it from up
Jenn: high. So the buff and Maddie are watching, is it Maddie? Yeah. Yeah, they’re watching from up high and LA Buff is, has the rifle, but he’s not a great shot and they’ve already distinguished.
He’s not a great shot. He likes to shoot horses
Scott: out for people. Yeah, he just says that like his carbine, can shoot someone from 300 yards.
Jenn: John Wayne takes out everybody but Ned Pepper. He wings him. He wings him. And he’s basically, he knows he’s a goner, but Rooster Cogburn, his horses have been shut out from underneath him.
And the, he’s landed on his leg and he can’t, so he’s not shot, but he’s incapacitated. He can’t reach his weapon. Yeah. So Ned Pepper thinks it’s gonna be an easy kill, and that’s when the buff is able to shoot him. Yeah. Off the horse. Just as he’s getting ready to shoot
Scott: John Wayne.
Jenn: Just says he’s gonna make to shoot John Wayne.
And then the bad guy with the mark on his face hits him on the head with a
Scott: rock. Yeah. Hits him on the head. And and that’s when
Jenn: Maddy falls
Scott: into the snake pit. And the interesting thing is that in each of the movies and in 1969 you get Dennis Hopper. So he was actually nominated for the best supporting actor.
Jenn: interesting. Cuz Duval plays Ned Pepper.
Scott: But Dennis Hopper’s character dies earlier in the movie. Dies early. Yeah. In the dugout. Yeah. He has a
Jenn: decent sized role. He does. And very dramatic. Gets his fingers cut off.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah. They show a lot more in the 2010 version.
But the, so that, that was very interesting. And even seeing Robert Duvall, I was just pleasantly surprised because I wasn’t expecting to see either of those, those well-known actors. And that was in their early days for them. This was towards the later end of John Wayne’s career.
But I really enjoyed. True grit. I enjoyed John Wayne’s character
Jenn: a lot. I do too.
[00:27:41] Who is really the one with true grit?
Scott: And one of the things that I actually wrote down and I was saving this for the another watch with history we have planned, but I actually wrote down, because you assume Maddie says, When she first hires Rooster Cogburn, she says,
True Grit 1969: They tell me you’re a man with true grit.
Scott: And I actually wrote down about halfway, two-thirds of the way through the movie. I was like, maybe, I think she’s actually the one with true grit. Yeah. And that’s what they’re showing you. Nobody ever actually says that. Sure. But that’s what they’re showing you.
Here’s this 14 year old girl. You wanna talk about someone that’s got true grit. She like jumps her horse in the water and swims it across the river. Yes. To Chase Rooster Cogburn and lab beef and all this stuff. She shoots Cheney. She shoots Cheney. And she keeps fighting back. And she’s bitten by the snake.
Bitten by the snake and, hangs in there. It was, Pretty, it was pretty
Jenn: incredible. It was pretty incredible. And what you get, and I hope these are spoilers, if no wouldn’t have seen the movie. So if you haven’t seen it and you don’t wanna hear these spoilers, turn this off, but even at the end, both movies make a point that she’s respectful. He’s made such an impact in her life that she wants him buried in her family plot, in her family plot in both movies. Do that. Yeah. And I think that’s significant to show that she thinks almost like the shared hardship. Like now he’s family and she thinks of him as family. Yeah. And in the end of the 1969 version John Wayne actually makes that jump on that horse.
Trust you to buy another tall horse. Yeah, he’s not as game as Bob, but Stonehill says he can jump a four rail fence. You’re too old. Too fat to be jumping horses.
Well come see a fat old man sometime. Yeah.
Scott: Yeah, you told me that. I, that’s pretty impressive. Cause I think he was like 60 and
Jenn: he had already had the lung surgery, so he usually had a stunt double. But this was his horse and this horse was young and it was a jumper and they weren’t sure if John Wayne was gonna do it in the last scene.
Yeah. And he actually did it. And he’s wait to say, come see an old Fatman sometimes.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah. Could Fatman jump over a fence sometimes And then he just goes and does it. Does it? Yeah. It was, it’s such a great scene. It was. It was pretty cool. We’ll move on to the 2010 version here in just a second.
[00:30:18] Interesting Facts About True Grit
Scott: But there’s an interesting fact that I dug up. So there was actually a true grit television show made in the late 1970s. A show was called True Grit, A Further Adventure, and it aired for one season in 1978. The show starred Warren Oats as Rooster Cogburn and followed the character as he continued to work as a US Marshall and take on various cases across the American West.
Now the show is not a success but it was based on the same characters and storylines from the novel and despite the popularity, it only did about 11 episodes. But a fun fact about Warren Oats, if you don’t know that name, He so he played Rooster in this, in the TV show, but he went to later on to play the role of Sergeant Holka, the drill instructor in the 1981 Bill Murray Comedy Stripes.
So it’s the same actor. So just a fun little, like he was definitely working actor. He did a lot of stuff. Sure. But I looked him up and then looked up kind of some of the more popular movies he was in, and that’s one that a lot of people in, including those who’ve seen or probably watching this.
They’ve probably seen Bill Murray in
Jenn: Stripes They Pro. Oh, absolutely. So I just think it’s so cool. I, we’ll, we have a, we will talk about what I think is John Wayne’s best performance another time, but I do like this performance. I do think this is a performance as well.
Like it does warm my heart that he did win an Oscar and he won it for this
Scott: role. Yeah. No, it was very good. I enjoyed the 1969 very version, very much. Now, the 2010 gr True Grit.
[00:31:49] 2010 True Grit
True Grit 2010: Mr. Cogburn, in your four years as US Marshall, how many men have you shot, shot or killed? Let us restrict it to killed so that we may have a manageable figure.
Mr. Cockburn, what do you want, bro? I’m looking for the man who told my father man’s name is, Tom Cheney and I need somebody to go after him. What’s your name? My name is Maddie Ross.
Are you some kind of law? I’m a Texas Ranger. I know Channey. It is at least a two man job taking him alive. Why car break? Can we depart this afternoon? We. I’m going with you. Congratulations. You’re graduating from Marauder to Wetters. We’re being followed. Marshall,
you missed your shot. Cockburn. Best let this go. I thought you were gonna say the sun was in your eyes. That is to say. Your eye. You got a lot of experience with mounting hunters. Steve, that is a silly question. I am 14. You can run home for a long time. Time for you to go home. I don’t like you. I will not go back.
Not without Cheney. Dead or alive. Leave. You gotta cut you. Downey’s Here. Help me Marshall.
Now what? Cogburn them boys. You don’t think about the wrath that’s about to set down on it. And this gang a rough, not your father.
I will kill this girl. The biggest mistake you ever made.
Help me. I couldn’t do nothing for you son.
Scott: I. Is directed by the Cohen Brothers. It stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Haley Steinfeld and Josh Brolin.
And Josh Brolin. He comes in a little bit later the movies a remake of the 1969 film of the same name, and we even get a lot of the same iconic lines between the characters as Matt Ross Rooster Cogburn, and the Texas Ranger. The beef travel through the Indian territory. They encounter similar obstacles and dangerous terrain, and the film culminates in the.
Same classic showdown between Rooster Cogburn and the criminals he’s pursuing. And Jeff Bridges even gives us the line that John Wayne made famous. Fill your hands, you son of a bitch. And charges straight towards the four outlaws with reins in his mouth and two guns firing away. Now this movie is a Tale of vengeance.
Justice and the roughness of the American West and features, strong performances from its cast and beautiful cinematography. I did notice that very clearly in the 2010 version, the cinematography. I just loved some of those scenes. I think you could just literally turn into a picture. It was gorgeous. The.
2010 release of True Grit was a surprise Cohen Brothers commercial success, and it grossed over 252 million at the box office. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Wow. Including Best Picture, best Director for the Cohen Brothers Best adapted screenplay. Best actor for Jeff Bridges best supporting actress for Haley Steinfeld.
The film also received nominations for best cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, best costume design and best art direction. Wow. So it, they knocked out of the park on this one.
[00:35:42] Jeff Bridges
Scott: And here’s an interesting movie Critics fact for you. Jeff Bridges was nominated for playing Rooster Cogburn and the role that John Wayne won his Oscar for, and it’s very rare for two actors to win an Oscar for the exact same role.
Sure. It’s, I can’t name any off the top of my head. You might be able to, but Joaquin Phoenix, we’d have to, we’d have to look that up. And
Jenn: Heath Ledger a Joker.
Scott: But one year earlier, so this is the 2010 version, one year earlier in 2009. Bridges had actually just won for his first Oscar for the film Crazy Heart.
Which was seen at the time as like a career kind of achievement award for him. Yet many critics felt that Bridge’s role as Cogburn was actually the better performance. And if not for his , Oscar win a year earlier for Crazy Heart. , most critics believe he would’ve won it for True Grit as Rooster Cogburn.
So I just thought that was very interesting. Interesting. Because, Jeff Bridges is phenomenal. He does play
Jenn: it very well. He does. He plays a different booster. Cogburn, like you said, not quite as humorous. Yep. He takes a little bit of the humor away, but he does play the same gritty ness and I think what, and this was nominated for so many Oscars, I think westerns.
Really set themselves up to be shot beautifully cinematically. Oh, a hundred percent. Because you’re on the raw western landscape and it’s beautiful. That is what draws people to the west. That’s what draws these cowboys and these rangers to live off the land is that beauty of the land. And so wait, if you can shoot that and shoot that.
It really is beautiful. Yeah. There
Scott: was just some amazing cinematic shots. One of the things that I actually noticed as I was watching the movie, I watched it today. But one of the things that I noticed while I was watching the movie and I, when I was doing some research online, they called it out as well, is a lot of Some of the characters are mirror opposites, so he actually wears the patch on the other eye.
Ah, it’s interesting. And so actually Cheney’s character, right? So that was Brolin. He’s his pet his scar is on the other cheek. His like Is his powder burn. Gunpowder burn. The gunpowder burn is actually on the other cheek. It’s interesting. And so I think the Cohen brothers, what I read was they tried to stay a little bit more true to the book.
Jenn: Sure. Because she loses her arm in this one. Yeah. She doesn’t lose her arm in 1960 nine’s version in this version, she loses her arm. And in both versions he stays with her until she’s well, but she sees him again right away in the 1969 version in the 2010 version. She never sees him again.
She gets a letter from him. She goes to visit and he’s already
Scott: passed. Yeah. And also the thing that was different, and I assume this must be more accurate to the book, was they actually split up from Lae. Yes. He survives. They get into an argument actually pretty early on. Oh yes. Before they get out to the, get into the initial shootout with some of Ned Pepper’s, gang, they split up and, so it’s just him and Maddie. It’s just Rooster and Matt for a little while until they get to that one place where the two outlaws kind of get killed. Yeah. The deck out and peppers came, comes in later. They meet up with the beef and then they split up again.
Yes. And he hears the gunshots, so that must be more accurate to the book. Whereas in the 1969 version, they basically stay together the entire time. Yeah, they do. So I thought that was interesting. And I, Matt Damon I liked Matt Damon as an as acting role. Yes. I think he did a great job.
[00:39:01] Matt Damon as Lebeouf
True Grit 2010: He dallied in Monroe, Louisiana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas before turning up at your father’s place. Well, why did you not catch him in Pine Bluff, Arkansas or Monroe, Louisiana. He’s a crafty one. I thought him slow witted myself. That was his act. That was a good one. Are you some kind of law? That’s right.
I’m a Texas Ranger. That may make you a big noise in that state. In Arkansas, you should mind that your Texas trappings entitled Do not Make you an object of Fun. Why have you been? I effectually pursuing Chaney. He’s shot and killed a state senator named Bibbs in Waco, Texas. Bibbs family put out a reward.
Well, how came Channey to shoot a state senator? My understanding is there was an argument about a dog, you know, anything about the whereabouts of Cheney. Oh, he’s in the territory and I hold that little hope for you winning your bounty. Why is that? My man will beat you to it. I’ve hired a Deputy Marshall, the toughest one they have.
Annie’s familiar with the lucky net pepper gang. They say Cheney’s tied up with. Well, I will throw in with you and your Marshall. No, Marshall Cogburn and I are fine. It’ll be to our mutual advantage. Your Marshall, I presume, knows the territory. I know Cheney. It is at least a two. Man. I’ve taken him alive.
When Chaney is taken, he’s coming back to Fort Smith to hang. I’m not having him go to Texas to hang for shooting some Senator. It is not important where he hangs, is it? It is to me. Is it to you? It means a great deal of money to me. It’s been many months work. Oh, I’m sorry that you were paid. Peace broken, not on wages and that you have been alluded The winter long by half witch.
You give out very little sugar with your pronouncements. While I sat there watching you, I gave some thought to stealing a kiss. Though you are very young and sick and unattractive to boot, but now I have a mind to give you five or six good licks with my belt. Hmm. Well, one would be as unpleasant as the other.
If you wet your comb might tame that cowlick.
Jenn: It’s difference between an actor and a singer. Glenn Campbell was a singer. Yeah. He’s trying to act and he does a fair job. But Mac Damon is an actor. He’s
Scott: better. Yeah. Matt Damon did a great job. And especially with, if you’ve ever seen these movies, if you haven’t That Maddie, what she does esp, especially with Libi, is she’s very quick witted.
And so he keeps saying, it’s oh, I was thinking about sneaking a kiss from you, but maybe instead I’ll you bend you over my knee and give you a switch. And she’s I think both would be just as miserable. And he just He’s shocked. He’s surprised.
He’s like, how does this 14 year old girl she just keeps giving it to him. She’s very, and so eventually he just gets frustrated and he’s okay, I’m not dealing with this. Yeah. But so Matt Damon did a fantastic job as Lae. Yes.
Jenn: I think the 2010 version, like I said, there is some parts of it that I think are more realistic.
There is a part in the dugout when the. The brother is dying. And Jeff Bridges stands over him and
True Grit 2010: Help me. I couldn’t do nothing for you son.
Jenn: he’s help me. And he’s I can do nothing for you. John Wayne delivers that line you’re standing on my foot. Yeah. I can do nothing for you. Where Jeff Bridges gives you more of a sense of you’re dying.
Yeah. It’s nothing I can do where I didn’t really. Get quite that same sentence from when John Wayne delivered the line. So there is so much difference with inflection Sure. And how people are setting up the scene, which I found very interesting. And it’s neat to see two really good actors play a very colorful character like this in different ways.
Scott: Yeah. And I think that, I felt like Jeff Bridges actually played a little bit more of that person that was. Closer to the edge of what’s legal and not
Jenn: Yeah. And he gets very drunk. You don’t see so much of that from John Wayne, except John Wayne gets drunk and falls off the horse and says, we’re gonna
Scott: kill here.
I actually wrote down John Wayne drank from very, he was drinking the whole time. Yes. Whereas Jeff Bridges was about halfway through the movie before his character actually started drinking. And they also goes on a huge bender in the 2010 version they introduced, this must have been in the book like some random.
Doctor, like this wilderness Dr. Guy who’s wearing like a big bur bare fur in the bare head.
[00:43:21] Random Bear Doctor encounter
True Grit 2010: You are not LeBeouf. My name is Forrester. Now, practice dentistry in the nation. Also veterinary arts and medicine on those humans that will sit still for it. They have your work cut out for you There. Traded for him with an Indian who said he came by him. Honestly, I gave up two dental mirrors and a bottle of expectorant.
Do either of you need. Medical with attention. No.
Scott: Very strange, very random interaction, but that, that had to have been in the book. Sure. So that just really stuck out cause it was, they didn’t have that in the first version at all.
Jenn: I do love the dialogue and I even love, I really appreciate Maddie’s dialogue. Yeah. Like you said, she is very of the time. She’s using jargon of the time. She’s really legal eased and she’s cri witted. Yeah. And she’s just very, she has a response for everything, and I think that’s another thing where Ned Pepper finds her a formidable.
A foe, I guess in a way when he meets her because Yeah she
Scott: Earns respect pretty quickly. Yeah. She
Jenn: answers his question. She’s very
Scott: forthcoming because cuz Ned Pepper doesn’t really care about Cheney. Cheney just joined in with him. Yes. He’s oh yeah, he shot that guy. Yeah. He probably deserved it, right?
He killed your dad. Yeah. It’s okay, yeah. I can tell you’re holding your own, right? Don’t hurt her. Yeah.
Jenn: And she’s my, my pistol misfired. And he goes, yeah, they’ll do that. So he’s very he’s honest with her too. Yeah. So I found it very interesting. They still have the same guy who makes the animal sounds Yes.
Just showing you like, there’s still crazy
Scott: people. There’s crazy. He’s he sounds like a Turkey.
Too thin rooster, too thin.
You’re your five minutes is running. No more talk.
Get on up that hill.
Scott: And then he’s That was in the first movie too. Yeah, that was in the first movie too. And I think he died in, I think that character died in each of ’em. Yeah. So
Jenn: they, yeah. They die in that fill your hands.
You son him a bitch. Yeah. Yeah. There’s are other lines. John Wayne makes this, the statement looking back is a bad habit.
[00:45:52] Famous Lines
True Grit 1969: They don’t call him lucky Ned Pepper for nothing. That man gave his life for him. He didn’t even look back. Yeah, looking back is a bad habit.
Jenn: So he doesn’t say that
Scott: In the second one. Does is second one. I didn’t catch it. I was li I was listening for it, but that was, that’s a pretty famous line. I think you have a shirt with that on it.
Looking back as a bad habit I don’t think Jeff Bridges had that line in there. Yeah. But
Jenn: so it’s neat. The snake bite. Happens in both. He rides the horse to its death in both. He carries her to safety to the back of the house. In both a little different when,
Scott: And then, like you said earlier, the beef lives in the second one.
In the 2010 version. So again, I assume that must be more like the book. Yes.
Jenn: Although she says she hasn’t seen him, she said he’d be well. Into his 70 eighties. By now, I would like to have a talk with him.
[00:46:42] Different ending
Scott: Yeah. So the end of the 2010 version, I actually appreciated seeing, she said it’s 25 years later.
I had the body removed to our plot and I have visited it over the years.
No doubt. People talk about that. They say. Well, she hardly knew the man. Isn’t she a cranky old maid? It is true. I have not married. I never had time to fool with it.
I heard nothing more of the Texas officer LeBeouf. If he is yet alive, I would be pleased to hear from him. I judge he would be in his seventies now and nearer. 80 than 70. I expect some of the starch has gone out of that cowlick. Time just gets away from us.
Scott: . But I appreciated seeing her and her tracking down, trying to track down Rooster
Jenn: Cogburn. Yeah. He sends her he’s basically running with the Cole Younger, kinda like a Buffalo Bill show.
Yeah. They’re doing a Wild West show and the Cole Younger gang from Jesse James, Frank James and the Cole Younger. They’re doing a show and they’re very old men. And Rooster Cogburn must have been part of their show. Yeah. To some degree telling his. Stories and he sends her a letter to come visit them in Memphis, which is also very cool.
Cause we used to live in Memphis. And when she gets there and she talks to, I think Mr. Younger, he informs her that booster has died three
Scott: the weeks earlier. No, it was like three days.
Jenn: Oh, three days. I know. She must have been three days. Yeah. And they buried him in Jonesboro, Arkansas. And she has them dug up and brought back to her family, to
Scott: her family plot.
But for some reason I appreciated that ending a little bit. More. It was two very different endings. Two very different endings. The first one, the ending was Rooster Cogburn, jumping his horse over a fence, and you get that sense of oh, there he is off back, off into the wild west.
And then the next one, You actually appreciate the closure? Yes. A little bit. Yeah. Because, that he’s gonna die in some random weird, alone. Alone. Like his character knows that. He knows that. That’s him talking about his ex-wife and his.
Son who was clumsy, kept, could never stay on a horse, and broke about 40 cups. Broke 40 cups. So there were differences between the 1969 and the 2010 version that I appreciated some things that I missed Yeah. In the 2010 that I enjoyed in the 1969. Like I said, I think overall to bring this.
All back together. I enjoyed the character of John Wayne’s Rooster Cog and a little bit more cause I liked the humor. It was, there was a little bit more humor in there and I just, me personally, I appreciated that. Yeah. The cinematography into the 2010 version was gorgeous. It’s not even a comparison to me.
No. But Matt Damon’s character I think was a little better in the second Maddie Ross, her, the actress the young lady. She was amazing. She’s amazing.
Jenn: And she’s young. Yeah. Where Kim Derby is not 14 years old. In the 1969 version. Okay. So which one did you like better?
[00:49:46] Which one is better?
Scott: Oh goodness. I would go with the 1969 version really?
With the John Wayne version. I would go with that one just because I enjoyed that version of Rooster Cogburn and a little bit more. Yes. And John Wayne is just so iconic. In that role, with the lines that he gives. And I think the, to me, hid the lines when he gives those famous one-liners, they have a little bit more oomph to him.
A little bit. More, a little more of a ring. If I was gonna go just from cinema, cinematography, videography, the 2010 version. Hands down. Yes. But I think I enjoyed the 1969 version a little bit more.
Jenn: Yeah. I think same thing. I enjoy the characters in the 1969 version a little bit more.
Yeah. As far as cinematography wardrobe, I do like 2010. I like Ben Foster, I think a little bit more as Ned Pepper. Oh yeah. Than Robert Duvall. Yeah. As well. I’m a big Ben Foster fan. Yeah. And I do like how rugged he looked. Ugh. As compared to, they, which they, when you saw his teeth and everything, which they do a really good job, I think, in later westerns to show how hard these men look living off the land.
Scott: they do. Even Josh Brolin, who plays Cheney, his character, it’s not a, he’s a pivotal character, but he doesn’t have a lot of screen time. Yes. But he plays this downbeat. Josh Brolin’s a huge actor.
Jenn: Yeah. He’s downbeat. He also seems very simple-minded as well. Yeah. And the world is against him.
Everyone’s against him. Yeah. And so it shows you again, like these maybe cognitive limitations. Yeah. That may people into the outlaws that they became.
Scott: But yeah, I think overall I enjoyed the 1969 version a little bit more. If you haven’t seen these movies I highly recommend both of them.
Yeah, they’re both very enjoyable. I do too. The John Wayne won. If you’re a John Wayne fan, I’m guessing you probably clicked on this thumbnail to watch this video because you’re a John Wayne or True Grit fan. So I’d be curious to hear what your guys’ favorite version is, whether the 1969 version of 2010, and maybe your thoughts on your favorite characters and why you like one over the other.
Drop it in the comments below. Yeah.
Jenn: Are your favorite lines from the movie? Absolutely.
Scott: I’d like to hear that too. Yeah, that’d be fun.
Scott: So thank you for listening to our first ever watch with history segment. As we’ve discussed, true grit had a significant impact on our popular culture, particularly in the Western genre.
It, even just the term true grit has a little bit more meaning just because of this film and it’s been added. It’s been adapted into multiple films, a television show, and I think I read somewhere, even a stage play.
At its core, true Grit is a story about the pursuit of justice and revenge in a lawless and dangerous world. It explores the themes of determination, perseverance, and loyalty, as well as the human desire for redemption and a sense of purpose.
As viewers, we get a peak into the historical context of the American Old West depicting a time of conflict and upheaval in the country’s history. Through its portrayal of rugged landscapes, violent encounters in the pursuit of justice, true grit captures the spirit of the American frontier and its enduring mythology.
So whether you’re a fan of Westerns, John Wayne, or simply appreciate a great story, true Grit is a film that continues to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact on us today. If you enjoyed this watch with history segment, please reach out to us through the link in our show notes and we as we love hearing from you, and we would be curious to hear what movie you want us to talk about for our next watch with history.
We’ll see you next time. Thank you.
Jenn: . I love John Wayne!