John Wayne, Martha Scott, and Albert Dekker in In Old Oklahoma (1943).
The Movie: Also known as The War of the Wildcats, this 1943 actioner was Republic’s big-budget film of the year, complete with a large cast, fires and explosions, and a 65-piece orchestra to perform the score.
The Plot: It’s 1906. Daniel Somers (John Wayne), a horseless cowboy, waves down a train and manages to get an invitation into the private car of successful oilman Jim Gardner (Albert Dekker). Soon, Gardner and Somers become friendly rivals for the affections of author Catherine Elizabeth Allen (Martha Scott), newly arrived from Back East. But their relationship is about to turn anything but friendly.
The Scene: Somers shows at one of Gardner’s gushers to find an angry wildcat pulling a pistol on the budding oil baron. Somers shoots the gun out of the roustabout’s hand, and then trips Gardner when he runs after the would-be shooter.
Gardner (angrily, dusting himself off): What’s the big idea?
Somers: You really didn’t wanna catch that little fella, did ya?
Gardner: I oughta break his neck! And yours too!
Somers: Now just a minute. I got no steady side in this fight. When he had a gun and you didn’t, that was takin’ unfair advantage.
Gardner: So what?!
Somers: So when you took out after him with seventy-five pounds which he ain’t got, that was takin’ a little advantage too.