An aging gunfighter (John Wayne) decides to go out with a bang after being told he’s dying of cancer. In the short time he has left, the gunfighter settles some unfinished business with a gambler (Hugh O’Brian) and teaches a young friend (Ron Howard) not to follow his example. This reflective Western from director Don Siegel (Dirty Harry) was the last feature film Wayne made before losing his own battle with cancer.
John Wayne plays a shootist named J.B. Books, and he has killed thirty men. They all deserved it according to Books. Young Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard) gets caught up in his legend when Books comes to stay at his mother’s boarding house. His mother is named Bond (Lauren Bacall) and she dislikes Brooks at first but her heart softens when she learns he has cancer and a short time to live.
The story is in part about how Books prepares for his own death and how be begins to get close to Bond although they both know they need to show restraint due to his short time left. This is not a bad story, but the violence and language levels prevent us from awarding our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to the film as a family-friendly movie.