Tag Archives: Alex

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel

I enjoyed John Ford’s 1956 classic Western The Searchers when I saw it some fifteen years ago, so I thought reading this book about its production would be worthwhile.

 

 

What I didn’t expect was the detail in which Frankel first discusses Cynthia Ann Parker, the woman kidnapped by Comanche Indians upon whose ordeal the novel and ultimately the film The Searchers was based. Indeed, the first half of the 400-page book concerns Cynthia Ann’s abduction and the events that follow, as well as the life and cultural impact of her son, Quanah

 

 

This fascinating truth, obfuscated through the personal agendas of historians and politicians, perfectly sets up Frankel’s discussion of Alan LeMay’s novel and Ford’s subsequent film.

 

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Billed as simply another John Wayne vehicle, the film is considered by many now as a complex examination of the myth of the American West.

 

 

I encourage anyone with an interest in film history, and history in general, to pick up The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend.

If you want to more about the history of Quanah Parker, you should check out Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne.