The Searchers (film)

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The Searchers is a 1956 American Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May. It is the story of Ethan Edwards, a middle-aged Civil War veteran portrayed by John Wayne, who spends years looking for his abducted niece with Martin Pawley, his adoptive nephew, portrayed by Jeffrey Hunter.

The Searchers is the first of only three films produced by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney's C. V. Whitney Pictures; the second being The Missouri Traveler in 1958 with Brandon De Wilde and Lee Marvin, the last being The Young Land in 1959 with Patrick Wayne and Dennis Hopper.

While a commercial success upon its 1956 release, The Searchers received no Academy Award nominations. It was named the Greatest American Western of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008. It also placed 12th on the American Film Institute's 2007 list of the Top 100 greatest movies of all time.[1]



In 1868, Ethan Edwards (Wayne) returns from the American Civil War, in which he fought for the Confederacy, to the home of his brother Aaron (Coy) in the wilderness of northern Texas. Some sort of wrongdoing or legal trouble in Ethan's past is suggested by his absence over the last three years, a large quantity of gold coins that he brings with him, a Mexican war medal that he gives to his young niece Debbie (Lana Wood), and his refusal to take an oath of allegiance to the Texas Rangers.

Shortly after Ethan's arrival, cattle belonging to his neighbor Lars Jorgensen (Qualen) are stolen, and when Captain Samuel Clayton (Bond) leads Ethan and a group of Rangers to follow the trail, they discover that the theft was a ploy by Comanche Indians to draw the men away from their families. When they return home, they find the Edwards homestead in flames; Aaron, his wife Martha (Jordan), and their son Ben (Lyden) are found dead; Debbie and her older sister Lucy (Scott) abducted.

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