True Grit (1969 film)

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True Grit is a 1969 film in which a young girl enlists the aid of a crusty U.S. Marshal to hunt down the man who murdered her father.

Directed by Henry Hathaway. Written by Margueritte Roberts, based on the novel by Charles Portis.
The strangest trio ever to track a killer.taglines

Mattie Ross

  • I won't rest until Tom Chaney is barking in Hell.
  • If I smelled as bad as you I wouldn't live near people.
  • If in four months I could not find Tom Chaney, with a mark on his face like banished Cain, I would not advise others how to do so.
  • I also notice that the men of Texas gouge their mounts with great brutal spurs and cultivate their hair like lettuce!
  • I want Tom Chaney hanged for killing my father! It's little to me how many dogs and senators he's killed in Texas.
  • Those horses can't outrun Little Blackie! They're loaded down with fat men and iron!
  • I'm going! And it's not because you say I can't, and it's not because you say I can. I paid good cash money to be here, and I'm on my own business! Now, we'll have no more talk about it.
  • My name is Mattie Ross, of Near Dardanelle in Yell County. My family owns property, and I don't know why I'm being treated like this!
  • Rooster Cogburn is no good friend of mine! He led us straight into your hands, and now he has left me with a gang of cut-throats! Is that what they call "grit" in Fort Smith? We call it something else in Yell County.
  • Papa's marker is not what was ordered. I will make that wool-hatted fool of a stone man change it.

"Rooster" Cogburn

  • Mr. Rat, I have a writ here that says you are to stop eating Chen Lee's cornmeal forthwith. Now, It's a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of same! [to Mattie] See? He doesn't pay any attention to me. [shoots the rat] You can't serve papers on a rat, baby sister. You either kill him or let him be.
  • Baby sister, I was born game, and I mean to go out that way.
  • General Price don't belong to me. He just rooms with me. Cats don't belong to nobody. 'Course, I depend on him.
  • A fella that carries a big-bore Sharps carbine might come in handy… if we get jumped by elephants, or buffalo, or something.
  • By God! She reminds me o' me!
  • LaBoeuf, if you get crosswise of me you'll think a ton of brick had fell on you! You'll wisht you was back at the Alamo with Travis!
  • It's a shame, a kid like Moon losing his leg. He's too young to be hoppin' around on a raw peg. Loves to dance too much, and sport!
  • DAMN a man that whistles!
  • Young fella, if you're looking for trouble, I'll accommodate you. Otherwise, leave it alone.
  • Ned doesn't go around killing people for no reason. Had he a reason, he'd kill them.
  • I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?
  • Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!
  • Damn that Texican! When you need him, he's dead.
  • We've got to get you to a doctor or you'll be deader than he is!
  • Well, a gun that's unloaded and cocked ain't good for nothin'.

Ranger La Boeuf

  • The French is 'La Bourf'. I say 'La Beef'.
  • I only take one step at a time. That's why I was given two feet.
  • You can't take men by watching them run away!
  • I served under General Kirby Smith. And I don't have to hang my head when I say it.
  • I ain't dead yet, you bushwhacker!
  • She draws him like a gun! [referring to Mattie's constant invocation of her lawyer's name]

Ned Pepper

  • I never busted a cap on a woman or anybody much under sixteen. But it's enough that you know that I'll do what I have to do.
  • Most girls like little play-pretties. But you like guns, don't you?
  • All the Parmalees is touched, but Harold's the worst… no, their Ma's the worst, then comes Harold's brother Farrell… but they're all good shots.
  • If that girl don't stay healthy, you don't neither, understand? And you don't get paid!
  • I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!


  • Tom Chaney: A gun will say a whole lot quick!
  • Tom Chaney: Everything happens to me, and now I'm shot by a child!
  • Colonel Stonehill: Most people around here know of Rooster Cogburn and some people live to regret it. I would not be surprised to learn that he is a relative of yours.
  • Colonel Stonehill: I just received word that a young girl fell head first down a fifty foot well on the Towson Road. I thought perhaps it was you.
  • Moon: He never played me false until he killed me.
  • Mexican Bob: My wounds healed by themselves - from the inside!


[Marshal Cogburn is cross-examined by a defense attorney]
Attorney: How many men have you shot since you became a marshal, Mr. Cogburn?
Rooster: I never shot nobody I didn't have to.
Attorney: That was not the question. How many?
Rooster: Uh, shot, or killed?
Attorney: Oh, let us restrict it to killed, so that we may have a manageable figure!
Rooster: Well, twelve to fifteen, stopping men in flight and defending myself.
Attorney: Twelve to fifteen? So many that you cannot keep an accurate count! I have examined the record, Mr. Cogburn. A much more accurate figure is available. Come now — how many?
Rooster: Counting them two Whartons… twenty-three.
Attorney: Twenty-three men in four years. That makes about six men a year!
Rooster: It's a dangerous business.

[Moon & Emmett Quincy were arrested in previous scene; Moon was shot in the leg during their capture]
Moon: Oh, my leg hurts!
Rooster: I'll bet it do, sonny-boy. Now you just sit right still so it don't bleed so much.
Quincy: I don't know any Ned Pepper. What's he look like?
Rooster: Short, feisty fella. He's got a messed-up lower lip. I shot him in it.
Quincy: In the lip? What was you aiming at?
Rooster: His upper lip.

Rooster: What we want to do is get them inside that dugout. I'll shoot the last man through the door, and then we'll have 'em over a barrel!
La Boeuf: You'll shoot them without a call?
Rooster: Well, it'll give 'em to know our intentions is serious! [La Boeuf & Mattie give him disapproving glares] Aw, well, I'll holler down after I shoot and see if any of 'em want to be taken alive — but when they won't, we'll shoot 'em as they come out the door.

Mattie: [drinking water from river near camp] That tastes like iron!
La Boeuf: You're lucky to be where water's so handy. I've seen the time I've drank out of a filthy hoofprint and I was glad to get it.
Rooster: If ever I meet one of you Texas waddies who ain't drunk from a hoofprint, I think I'll… I'll shake their hand, or buy them a Daniel Webster cigar! [he looks over La Boeuf's horse] How long you boys down there been mounted on sheep?
La Boeuf: Go ahead and have your little joke. But I'll tell you one thing: that little fella there will still be running when that big American stud of yours is winded and collapsed.
Rooster: Ha — sheep! Heh, heh…

[Rooster brings four dead outlaws to Indian Police outpost.]
Rooster: Boots, I got Hayes and some youngster outside, along with Moon and Quincy. I want you to bury 'em.
Boots: They're dead?
Rooster: Well, I wouldn't want you to bury 'em if they wasn't!

Mattie: I'm here to take you back to Fort Smith and hang you!
Chaney: And I think I will not go. Now how do you like that?
Mattie: Well, there's a posse of officers up the hill who'll force you to go!
Chaney: How many officers?
Mattie: I'd say right around fifty — and they mean business! So you just walk up that hill right in front of me.
Chaney: I believe I'll oblige those officers to come after me.
Mattie: If you refuse to go with me, I'll have to shoot you.
Chaney: Is that so? Well, you better cock your piece. [Mattie pulls back the lever on the revolver to load it. She doesn't pull it all the way.] All the way back, until it locks!
Mattie: [cocks revolver properly] I know how to do it. Now you mean to say that you won't go with me on your own free will?
Chaney: You just got it the other way around, now you will follow me!

[Mattie pulls the trigger as a response and shoots Chaney in the ribcage. The recoil knocks her back and she falls down, while Chaney falls down onto the sand on the river as well.]

Chaney: I didn't think you'd do it!
Rooster: [From the top of the hill] Sis! Where are you!
Mattie: I'm down here! I got Chaney!
Chaney: I just didn't think you'd do it! One of my short ribs is broke!
Mattie: You killed my father when he was trying to help you! You're just a piece of trash! You also killed a senator in Texas when he was sitting on a porch swing!
Chaney: Everything happens to me and now I'm shot by a child!
Mattie: I'll shoot you again if you don't get up!

[Ned Pepper, Mexican Bob, and the Parmalee brothers meet Rooster Cogburn blocking the road.]
Rooster: Where's the girl, Ned?
Ned: She was in wonderful health when last I saw her. I can't answer for her now.
Rooster: You'll answer for her now! Where is she?
La Boeuf: [from far off, in outlaw camp] Rooster, make a run for it! I've got Mattie! Chaney too!
Ned: Well, Rooster, will you give us the road? I have business elsewhere.
Rooster: Farrell, you and your brother stand clear. I've got no interest in you today. Stand clear and you won't get hurt.
Harold: Cock-a-doodle-doo! [other outlaws laugh]
Ned: What's your intention, Rooster? You think one on four is a dog-fall?
Rooster: I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned, or see you hanged at Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?
Ned: I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!
Rooster: Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!

[In a scuffle with Chaney, Mattie falls into a rattlesnake pit.]
Mattie: Help me! Please help me! I'm in the pit! There's a snake down here, and skeletons!
Chaney: [leaning head over edge of pit] I warrant there'll be another one before long — a little, spindly one! How do you like it?
Mattie: [sobbing hysterically] Oh, help me, help me… please, HELP ME!
Chaney: You say you don't like it?


  • The strangest trio ever to track a killer.
  • The strangest trio ever to track a killer. A fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal who never knew a dry day in his life... a Texas ranger thirsty for bounty money... and a girl still wet behind the ears who didn't care what they were or who they were as long as they had true grit.
  • A Brand New Brand Of American Frontier Story


John Wayne - Marshal Reuben J. ("Rooster") Cogburn
Kim Darby - Mattie Ross
Glen Campbell - La Boeuf
Jeff Corey - Tom Chaney
Strother Martin - Colonel Stonehill
Robert Duvall - "Lucky" Ned Pepper
Dennis Hopper - Moon
Ron Soble - "Boots" Finch
John Fiedler - Lawyer J. Noble Daggett
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