Great Westerns Blogathon- Big Jake (1971)


Saddle up everyone! Today is the Great Western blogathon hosted by Thoughts All Sorts!

I think I shock people when I say I love a good western film. I haven’t seen a ton, ton (hey- Im watching my way through) but I will out rightfully say I’m just as content watching a cowboy ride off into the unknown as a I am watching a Victorian costume drama.

To me the participation in this blogathon for me was an easy decision even if the choice of which one to do was hard! In the end, I settled for Big Jake (1971). It’s a John Wayne classic and you just can’t go wrong with that!

I know many of us who blog and read in the classic movie fandom are fans of John Wayne, but with that being said- in a resume of over 100 films it can be hard to sort out which ones are the essentials. In my view I think Big Jake is up there with the best- maybe not the top 5- but it’s certainly beloved.

Big jake ver2.jpg

There are so many awesome things about this picture- so without further ado- I decided to present to you five facts on why I believe Big Jake is a highlight to see on the Duke’s filmography.

1-The Cast! This movie has Maureen O’Hara playing Big Jake’s wife Martha (who else?!),  Patick Wayne as son James McCandles, Ethan Wayne as grandson Little Jake McCandles, Christopher Mitchum (Robert’s son) as Michael McCandles, and Richard Boone as Gang Leader John Frain. Image result for big jake

2-The Humor! This movie has got brief great moments of humor- The Daddy scene in the beginning, Big Jake sewing James’s trousers, Big Jake’s “Dog”, the shower scene- funny stuff!!!

3-The Family- The whole underlying theme of this story is family. Sure Big Jake hasn’t seen his grandson ever before, and hasnt seen his wife and sons for years- but that doesn’t stop him from riding off with this sons to save and rescue his grandson!  And that scene with Little Jake tending to Big Jake’s wound- too adorable!! (edit- This film contains Duke’s family off screen too! Michael Wayne produced through Batjac!)

4- The Music- Western scores are seriously over looked! This movie’s score is not to be missed!

5-One of the last of its kind- Not only for John Wayne but for the western genre itself. For Duke, it was the last time he would work Maureen, Patrick and Ethan. And for westerns- well- this was 1971 and the genre was no longer appreciated by general audiences. I dare someone to watch this and not think it has great scenery, a great plot, and just good old fashioned western elements- cowboys, gun fight shootouts, horses, chasing outlaws.  I for one find it sad westerns today aren’t a ‘thing’ anymore- think about it, there is no such thing as a western cowboy hero in the 21st century. I consider those who love westerns today to have good taste in movies and actors- because they literally do not make them anymore.

Image result for big jake patrick wayne

Bonus watch this movie for the best recurring dialogue exchange

Person- Jacob McCandles? I thought you were dead!

Jacob McCandles- Not Hardly!

And if all that wasn’t enough take a look at this clip from the premiere of the film at Knotts Berry Farm in 1971- The Duke and Maureen- just perfect!!


15 thoughts on “Great Westerns Blogathon- Big Jake (1971)

  1. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    For some reason this one has eluded me. Time to rectify that I think. This film sounds like great fun. John Wayne and Maureen O’ Hara always worked very well together on screen I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely original post idea…and…with Big Jake being on of my favourite Westerns (you’ll hear all about it in my post, although only tomorrow as I’ve run out of time and off to bed now) I can totally relate to your 5 reasons. As for the “daddy” dialogue…absolutely brilliant (and I can recite it, as I’m sure you can, word for word).
    Thanks so much for joining my Blogathon. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Big Jake from someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Duke was one of the last of the ‘traditional’ Western movie makers. Even though most of his 70’s films aren’t for the most part the caliber of his earlier classics, they’re still entertaining – this one, ‘Chisum’, The Train Robbers’, and of course ‘The Cowboys’ and ‘The Shootist’. As a John Wayne fanatic, I love ’em all!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There’s no way this movie is a “top 5” Wayne film, and yet it is one of my favorites. Just like there is “comfort food,” I’m a firm believer in “comfort films.” “The Searchers” is like filet mignon; there really isn’t a better cut of beef. But sometimes you don’t want the best, you just want what you like. For me, a great “comfort food” is macaroni and cheese. That’s “Big Jake.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is why I love a good steak house where everything is a la carte. That way, I can get a good steak AND mac and cheese as a side if I want. The only downside is when you get a place that gets “fancy” with it’s mac and cheese.

        I don’t want anything with “fontina” cheese or hand-made pasta. Elbow macaroni with melted Velveeta is what I’m talking about…

        Liked by 1 person

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