Jun 30, 2023 - Things to Do

One-eyed Rooster noted at U.S. Marshals Museum

John Wayne on the set of "True Grit." Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Perhaps the most famous fictional U.S. marshal is referenced in the museum "several" times, Ben Johnson, president and CEO of the museum, told Axios.

Quick take: The hard-drinking, ill-tempered Marshal Rooster Cogburn was the creation of Arkansas writer Charles Portis, appearing in his most famous novel, "True Grit."

The story is set in 1878, when 14-year-old Mattie Ross tails her father's killer from Dardanelle to Fort Smith, where she then enlists the one-eyed Cogburn to track down the man.

Of note: John Wayne played Cogburn in the 1969 film adaptation of "True Grit" and won the 1970 Oscar for leading actor.

  • One of Wayne's parade saddles, currently displayed at the museum, is on loan from Johnelle Hunt, Johnson told us.

The intrigue: In the film, snow-capped mountains can be seen behind Wayne and actress Kim Darby as they begin their journey, a bit of creative license by filmmakers of the day.

Go deeper: A preview of the U.S. Marshals Museum

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