"The Shootist" Is Released
The Shootist is a novel written by Glendon Swarthout and published in 1975.
The book was made into a 1976 Western film directed by Don Siegel and is noted as being the final film role of actor John Wayne. Scott Hale and Miles Hood Swarthout (son of the author) wrote the screenplay.
About ten minutes into The Shootist, Doctor Hostetler (James Stewart) tells aging Western gunfighter John Bernard Books (John Wayne), "You have a cancer." Knowing that his death will be painful and lingering, Books is determined to be shot in the line of "duty." In his remaining two months, Books settles scores with old enemies, including gambler Pulford (Hugh O'Brian) and Marshall Thibido (Harry Morgan) and reaches out to new friends, including a feisty widow (Lauren Bacall) and her hero-worshipping son (Ron Howard). Throughout the film, Books' imminent demise is compared with the decline of the West, as represented by the automobiles and streetcars that have begun to blight the main street of Books' hometown. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide