How many times have you passed by this courthouse in the western scene of the Great Movie Ride? In all those times, how many of them were you focused on the bank or the shootout between the lawman and robber to actually notice it. I can’t say as I blame you for looking the other way, but today we’re stopping to take note of attorney who resides on the second floor of this western town’s courthouse.
See his name on the hand-painted sign at the left of the picture? It reads:
Attorney At Law
If you are a fan of the western film genre, then you likely already know where this name is from. If not, then here is a brief education for you, pilgrim.
Ransom Stoddard is portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the 1962 film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The film was directed by John Ford and co-starred John Wayne a Vera Miles as Tom Doniphon and Hallie Stoddard, respectively. The film is told entirely in flashback when then Senator Stoddard returns to the small town of Shinbone, where Ransom was once a lawyer and where he met his future wife. It tells the story of how he came to be a legend in the west, whether or not he deserved to be that legend, and of the tumultuous friendship he had with Doniphon. Don’t ask me to tell you more about it, because you should really see it for yourself.
As westerns go, it pretty much has it all. A shootout in the street with the smug outlaw, Liberty Valance. A greenhorn learning the ways of the west. Aces and Eights, the deadman’s hand. And a rivalry between the two leads for the affections of the prettiest girl in town.
As if that weren’t enough, this is the film where John Wayne first used the name ‘Pilgrim,’ to address someone. That someone being Stewart’s Stoddard. It seems as if he used the name forever, but it wasn’t until 1962 that the famous utterance actually left his lips on the big screen.
The Great Movie Ride is filled with subtle references to films great and small. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance may not be tops on your list, then again it just might be, but it certainly deserves to be noted. Considering Wayne is just down the lane, is it any wonder we find Jimmy Stewart upstairs in his office?