Hondo! This is the episode on Hondo! Your basic John Wayne studio western, Hondo adapts a Louis L’Amour novel about a noble drifter coming to the aid of a single mother and her son living on the outskirts of civilization. The plot resembles Shane in some superficial ways, but this film also has a bit of notoriety as the John Wayne: Indian Killer movie. Indeed, 1950s attitudes about Native Americans are front in center in this movie, and much of the conversation revolves around the film’s portrayal of the Apache, which is layered, to say the least. Hondo! Topics of discussion include the surprising chemistry between John Wayne and Geraldine Page, the seemingly-Italian names for the central Apaches, the superiority of this film’s child actor, the bearlike charisma of Ward Bond, and consistently throughout, the frequent push/pull between the film’s attempt to accurately and sympathetically portray Native Americans and its existence as a film very much of its time, susceptible to innate cultural prejudices of the 1950s. It’s an interesting film, if not an extraordinary one. Dad also has some interesting background on the film, and it turns out, this was possibly his introduction to loving westerns and John Wayne in the first place. Hondo!

Afterwards, we talk about other recent watches, including Dad’s Turner Classic Movies kick. We talk Greta Garbo in Queen Christina, The Prisoner of Zenda, the concluding chapters of the Hunger Games films and the new Star Trek. Join us for the next episode, wherein we’ll be talking about our first Sergio Leone film, A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood!

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Hondo was directed by John Farrow and stars John Wayne, Geraldine Page and Ward Bond.



After several previous mentions, we finally get to Tombstone, the superlative one, the magnum opus, the towering classic by which all others shall be judged. Perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but by our own standards, it’s hard to come up with a Western that we just purely enjoy more than this 1993 Kurt Russell adventure, a retelling of the Wyatt Earp story, featuring a much-praised turn by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. From the richly drawn and enthusiastically performed ensemble of characters to the clever, literary dialogue to the cathartic blasts of bloody action to the hints of philosophy and religious dread in the margins to the joyous honoring of just about every Western trope you can think of, Tombstone covers it all, and is quite possibly, the best choice you could make when deciding to watch a Western with your dad.

Another reason this episode is special is it features our first guest, Dad’s brother and my uncle, Gary! Offering a different perspective on the genre, Gary’s just great, and has made it an easy choice to try to get more similarly great guests in the future.

There is one unfortunate bit of business that must be attended to though. The sound quality on this episode is beneath our usual standards, and despite my best efforts, it’s still an issue in this final version. It’s been a busy time in our lives, for reasons that will become clear during the episode, and as such I was unable to prepare for the live recording as I should have. So there’s issues with the levels and issues with a bit of static buzz. It’s mostly all audible, but it makes the listen a bit tougher than usual, and I can’t apologize enough. We considered trying to re-record, but we just liked the conversation we ended up with too much, and decided to release it with this disclaimer. And besides, it’s Tombstone! We’ve been eager to do this one since we started.

And yes, I refer to Dana Delaney’s character as Josephine Baker. It’s Josephine Marcus. I know!

Next week we’ll be back with the John Wayne film Hondo. Tombstone stars Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Dana Delaney, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn and Stephen Lang. It was ‘directed’ by George P. Cosmatos