Wayne received an Oscar for this enjoyable western and certainly deserved it for being able to reverse his horse quicker and better than lesser mortals do their four wheeled vehicles. Knowing such ceremonial awards, it was also because he wore an eye patch and was into his early sixties. Importantly, he gives a good performance as the crusty Cogburn, a U.S. Marshall who agrees to find the killer of young Mattie's father. She (Kim Darby) is determined to go with the lawman and bounty hunter La Boeuf (Glen Campbell) and the adventure begins. From then on we're in familiar territory, directed with typical professionalism by Henry Hathaway, until the memorable parting scene leaves not a dry unpatched eye in the house.
In a nutshell: John Wayne well deserved his Oscar for creating the larger-than-life character that is Rooster Cogburn. Emotional and exciting, it's no surprise that this iconic film inspired the Coen brothers' (also exceptional) remake.