The Movie: Big Jake belongs on any list of Top 20 John Wayne films, with plenty of action and lots of good dialogue from screenwriters Harry and Rita Fink.
The Plot: There are only a handful of tough hombres who can stand up to John Wayne, face to face, on the big screen. Victor McLaglen is one, for sure. Lee Marvin is another. That’s about it…until you get to Richard Boone. And make no mistake: Boone is big and bad and menacing in Big Jake. But John Wayne, despite nearing the end of his career, is up to the task. The year is 1909, and Wayne plays rancher Jacob “Big Jake” McCandles, whose grandson has been kidnapped by a fearsome gang of desperadoes.
The Scene: John Fain (Boone) and his band of bad men are hidden away in a farmhouse. Big Jake and his two sons, James and Michael, want to drive them out to capture them (or worse) and save the kidnapped boy.
Jacob McCandles (John Wayne): What do you do when cockroaches get in the woodwork, Michael?
James McCandles (jumping in): Smoke ’em out?
Jacob McCandles: That’s right.
Michael McCandles: Why not wait until they make a move?
Jacob McCandles: Because waiting is good for them and bad for us. You get impatient, nervy, careless, and maybe dead. I’ve seen it.