Directed by Don Siegel, The Shootist would become the legendary John Wayne‘s final film. The 1976 release sees Wayne play J.B. Books, an ageing gunfighter who is dying of cancer. Wayne would pass away from stomach cancer in June 1979, just three years after the film was released.
Co-starring James Stewart, Lauren Bacall and Ron Howard, The Shootist is a fitting swan-song to Wayne’s career – and for the golden age of the western genre. The film’s opening sequence illustrated Books’ life as a gunslinger and it used footage from Wayne’s past films to show his prowess with a gun.
This photograph shows Clint Eastwood joining John Wayne and Don Siegel on the set of The Shootist. Eastwood was effectively Wayne’s heir to the cowboy mantle and is likely the only other actor to be so closely associated with the western genre. Siegel was Eastwood’s friend and mentor and the pair would ultimately make five movies together – including the 1971 classic, Dirty Harry.
Released in 1976, The Shootist would gross $8 million at the US box office.