AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Stagecoach
Director: John Ford (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Mar 1939
Duration (in mins):  95-96
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Cast: Claire Trevor  (Dallas)
  John Wayne  (Ringo Kid)
  Andy Devine  (Buck)
 

Summary: The Overland stagecoach from Tonto, Arizona, to Lordsburg, New Mexico, leaves town with eight people on board. In the front, sit Buck the driver and Marshal Curley Wilcox, who is riding shotgun to protect the stage from hostile Indians and from the Plummer brothers, a vicious band of outlaws. The passengers consist of Doc Josiah Boone, the town drunk; Dallas, a woman of ill repute, who, like Doc, has been banished from town; the pregnant Lucy Mallory, who is taking the stage to meet her husband, a cavalry officer, and is treated gallantly by her fellow passenger, Hatfield, a gambler; Gatewood, the town's sanctimonious banker who mouths respectability while clutching a carpet bag filled with stolen money; and Peacock, a timid whiskey drummer. Because of an Apache uprising by Geronimo, the cavalry escorts the coach to the first station at Dry Fork. Along the way, Buck stops to pick up the Ringo Kid, who has escaped from prison to seek revenge on the Plummers, who killed his family and sent him to jail on false testimony. After Curley arrests Ringo, the stage continues on to Dry Fork, where they discover that there are no troops to escort them farther. Voting to continue on alone, they reach the next stop, where their journey is delayed when Mrs. Mallory, learning that her husband has been wounded, goes into premature labor. Doc sobers up to deliver the baby, and as they await Mrs. Mallory's recovery, Dallas and Ringo fall in love and Dallas urges Ringo to escape. Ringo is on the verge of leaving when he sees Apache war signals, and the passengers hastily board the stage to make a desperate dash to Lordsburg. Just as they think the danger has passed, the Apaches attack at a dry lake bed, wounding Peacock and Buck and killing Hatfield. At the last minute, the cavalry rides to the rescue and escorts the stage to Lordsburg, where Gatewood is arrested for embezzlement. There, Curley grants Ringo his freedom so that he can avenge the murder of his family, and after gunning down the Plummers, Ringo and Dallas ride off into the night to begin life anew at his ranch across the border. 

Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.
Production Company: Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.
Director: John Ford (Dir)
  Wingate Smith (Asst dir)
  Lowell Farrell (Asst dir)
Producer: Walter Wanger (Pres)
Writer: Dudley Nichols (Scr)

Subject Major: Apache Indians
  Bankers
  False accusations
  Gamblers
  Marshals
  Outlaws
  Physicians
  Prison escapes
  Prostitution
  Regeneration
  Revenge
  Stagecoaches
 
Subject Minor: Alcoholics
  Brothers
  Childbirth
  Embezzlement
  Gunfights
  Murder
  Reputation
  Saloons

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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