The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Synopsis: When Senator Ransom Stoddard returns home to Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon, he recounts to a local newspaper editor the story behind it all. He had come to town many years before, a lawyer by profession. The stage was robbed on its way in by the local ruffian, Liberty Valance, and Stoddard has nothing to his name left save a few law books. He gets a job in the kitchen at the Ericson's restaurant and there meets his future wife, Hallie. The territory is vying for Statehood and Stoddard is selected as a representative over Valance, who continues terrorizing the town. When he destroys the local newspaper office and attacks the editor, Stoddard calls him out, though the conclusion is not quite as straightforward as legend would have it.
Genre: Drama, Western
Director(s): John Ford
Production: Paramount Home Video
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

- Thank you, Jason. On time.

- You bet!

Link. Link Appleyard!

- Miss Hallie.

- Hello, Marshal.

- Howdy, Mr Senator.

- No, no. Rance. Rance.

Rance. Sure glad you could come.

Your wire caught us in St Louis.

Thank you.

My buckboard's right over there.

Jason, give me that box.

You knew they were coming!

That's the first time you ever

kept a secret! Blabbermouth!

Was that anybody

worth a line in the paper?

A line? You blasted young fool,

that's Senator Stoddard and his wife.

You can fill your newspaper

with them!

Hi, Lydia. Charlie Hasbrouck.


Tell the office Senator Stoddard

and his wife just got here!

- That's right! Thanks!

- Hey, that's a nickel!

Charge the ''Shinbone Star''!

Senator! Senator Stoddard, ma'am.

Could you give me an interview?

Exclusive-like. A scoop!

''Shinbone Star''...

Well, now, son... all right.

l'll give the interview,

but only for one reason.

One reason. Dutton Peabody, founder,

publisher, editor in chief

of the ''Shinbone Star'' once fired me.

l'll be fired

if l don't get this interview.

ls it true you're going to...

Here he comes now.

Senator Stoddard, this is a surprise

and an honour, sir!

- Maxwell Scott, editor.

- How do you do, Mr Scott?

- This is Mrs Stoddard.

- A pleasure, ma'am.

What brings you back to town, sir?

ls it true...?

Oh, no. Hold on, Mr Scott.

Who am l giving this interview to,

you or this young fellow?

- Who asked first, by the way.

- l sure did.

lf you're a good reporter invite

them in, out of the sun and dust.

He's right. To make a man talk,

make him comfortable.

lt's back in business again.


Link, why don't you take Hallie

for a little ride around town?

Lot of changes, huh?

l'll go with these fellows

and mend a few political fences.

l notice

you're not wearing the star.

Shucks, Miss Hallie. They haven't

elected me Town Marshal for ages.

The only one of us from the old days

still working steady is the senator.

Place has sure changed.

Churches, high school, shops.

Well, the railroad done that.

Desert's still the same.

- The cactus rose is in blossom.

- Maybe...

Maybe you'd like to take a ride out

desert way, and maybe look around.


You knew where l wanted to go,

didn't you?

Well, you said you wanted

to see the cactus blossoms.

There's his house down there,

what's left of it.

Blossoms all around it.

He never did finish that room

he started to build on, did he?


Well, you know all about that.

There's a lovely one there.

Gentlemen, l promised myself

this trip l would not talk politics,

and look here,

that's about all l've been doing.

Surely you're going to Capitol City

and talk to the assembly?

Not this trip. lt's purely personal.

Purely personal? That isn't good

enough for my readers.

Why did you come to Shinbone?

No mystery, is there?

No. No, there's no mystery.

l'm here to go to a funeral.

- Funeral?

- Who's dead, sir?

- No, sir. l...

- A man by the name of Tom Doniphon.

There's my good wife. l'll...

l've enjoyed the visit, gentlemen.

Tom Doniphon?

- Hello, Clute.

- Ransom Stoddard! And Miss Hallie!

Senator, l didn't think... Why didn't

you let me know they was coming?

l'd have had a real bang-up funeral.

Folks from all over everywhere

would have come.

The county's gonna bury him.

l won't make a nickel out of it.


- Miss Hallie.

- Pompey, l'm sorry.

Maybe you'd like to...

Where are his boots?

They was an awful nice pair of boots,

almost brand-new, and l thought...

Put his boots on, Clute,

and his gun belt and his spurs.

He didn't carry no handgun, Rance.

He didn't for years.

Yeah, sure.

Sir, l don't wish to intrude,

but a United States senator is news.

l'm the editor of a newspaper

with a statewide circulation.

l've got a responsibility to know

why you came all the way down here

to bury a man.

You can't say his name was

Tom Doniphon and leave it at that.

Who was Tom Doniphon?

He was a friend, Mr Scott,

and we'd like to be left alone.

Scott, let's go.

l'm sorry. That's not enough.

l have a right to have the story.

Yes, l guess maybe you have.

This story not only concerns me.

Old Pompey in there, Link...

they were part of it.

But l suppose l'm the only one

who can tell it through.

l read of the old days in the paper's

files. There was no mention...

You're a young man! A young man.

You only know it

since the railroad came.

A lot different then. A lot different

before, Mr Scott. A lot different.

First time l came to Shinbone,

l came by stagecoach.

A lot like that one right there.

Could be the same one.

Could be the same one.


Say, l think it is the same one!

Well, l declare.

Well, l declare.

l was just a youngster,

fresh out of law school,

bag full of law books and my

father's gold watch, $1 4.80 in cash.

l had taken

Horace Greeley's advice literally:

Go west, young man, go west,

and seek fame, fortune, adventure.

Stand and deliver!

Shotgun, shuck your shells.

Throw down the cash box. Now!

All right.

Get the passengers out of the coach.

Looks like slim pickings,

but lift their wallets anyway.

- l'll take that pin, too.

- No. My dead husband gave it to me.

- Please!

- A widow? l'll take it...

Take your hands off!

What kind of men are you?

This kind, dude.

Now, what kind of man are you, dude?

l am an attorney at law, and l'm

duly licensed by the territory.

You may have us now,

but l'll see you in jail for this!


Stop it!

Get him out of here!

Get in that coach! Go on, move!

Get in there! You, too!

Come on, inside!

- He could die!

- We'll send him flowers!

Chico, cut the leaders!

Get going!

Put that in here

and get to your horses. Hurry!

A book?


Lawyer, huh?

l'll teach you law... Western law.

Let's get out of here.

Come on! Come on!

Hallie! Wake up, gal!

Tom Doniphon! 5:

What's the matter with you?

We've got a man down here ambushed.


Like to die

if we don't get care for him.

- lt's the man from the hold up.

- That's right.

How did you know?

Stagecoach stopped by last night

to notify the marshal.

Link Appleyard?

Don't stand there gossiping.

Get him inside. Pompey!

Think you can make it, pilgrim?

Pick him up, Pompey.

Put him on the couch.

Tom, he's hurt real bad.

Thanks, Pompey.

Poor man. Beaten, whipped and kicked,

just for trying to protect a woman.

- How's that again?

- Stage driver told us all about it.

Well, Pompey, looks like

we got ourselves a ladies' man.

Hallie, we...

- Get some bandage.

- But...

l'll take care of him.

Pilgrim, you'll need

a couple of stitches.

Pompey, go find Doc Willoughby.

lf he's sober, bring him back.

Nora, sorry to bust in on you

like this. He's in trouble.

- Such a beating.

- This is just simply terrible.

By golly,

l'm going to get the marshal.

You want coffee?

l make some breakfast. Hallie?

Take her easy there, pilgrim.

You all right?

Here we are. Drink this.

ls that coffee?

Rate this script:4.5 / 2 votes

James Warner Bellah

James Warner Bellah (September 14, 1899 in New York City – September 22, 1976 in Los Angeles, California) was an American Western author from the 1930s to the 1950s. His pulp-fiction writings on cavalry and Indians were published in paperbacks or serialized in the Saturday Evening Post. Bellah was the author of 19 novels, including The Valiant Virginian (the inspiration for the 1961 NBC television series The Americans), and Blood River. Some of his short stories were turned into films by John Ford, including Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande. With Willis Goldbeck he wrote the screenplay for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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