True Grit (2010)

Jeff Bridges stars in the Coen Brothers 2010 adaptation of the classic, True Grit!

Gutsy teen Mattie Ross hires U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, to hunt her father’s killer, who has joined an outlaw gang in Indian Territory. It’s a dangerous mission, and in spite of Rooster’s objections, Mattie is going with him.

True Grit

Stars Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin!

Gutsy 14-year-old tomboy, Mattie Ross knows hired hand, Tom Chaney, killed her father and she wants to see Chaney hang. In fact, she’ll take vengeance into her own hands, if necessary. She has her father’s gun, and though it’s big and awkward for her, she intends to use it if that’s what it comes to.

All she has to do is track down Chaney, and though she’s bold, brave and resolute, she’ll need someone tough and proven to help her do it. To complicate matters, Chaney has fled deep into Indian Territory, and local authorities have no jurisdiction in that area. So Mattie will need a U.S. Marshal to find him. She leaves her mother and two younger siblings and heads to Fort Smith, where her father met his demise. She identifies her father’s body, sells his horses to make enough money to live on and offers a reward for Chaney’s capture, and starts making inquiries.

Mattie hears about one-eyed, U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” J. Cogburn, a man of “true grit,” determination and bravery. Indeed Rooster is a tough, hard-drinking man, who excels at his job, but he’s getting on in years, a bit on the paunchy side, and Mattie has doubts that he could track a raccoon, let alone a cold-blooded criminal. But he’s ornery enough, so she offers him the job. After turning her down several times, Rooster finally relents and prepares to leave the next day.

Young Texas Ranger, La Boeuf, is also pursuing Chaney, and when he discovers Rooster is after him, the men join forces. They’re going to need all the manpower they can get because Chaney has hooked up with a band of notorious outlaws led by ruthless Lucky Ned Pepper. What they don’t need is kid power, but Mattie insists on going along, and though the men try to ditch her, she’s wily. Soon she catches up, swimming with her horse across a river to get to them, and they have no choice but to take her along. Rooster is impressed by Mattie’s gumption, but Le Boeuf, who is no fan of Rooster to begin with, is irritated by the girl, and he leaves them to track Chaney on his own.

As strong-willed Mattie and sharp-witted Rooster ride through rough country, they trade barbs, and gain respect for each other, forming a bond of friendship. Soon, they learn Chaney is not far ahead, and is indeed with Pepper’s gang. At dusk, the duo come across a cabin where several men are waiting to meet up with Pepper. Hiding in the bushes, they see Le Boeuf snooping around. When Pepper’s men lasso Le Boeuf, Rooster shoots the outlaws, accidentally winging Le Boeuf. The men argue about their mission and Rooster drinks heavily, and both decide the trail has gone cold. Le Boeuf abandons them, once again.

The next morning, while fetching water, Mattie comes face-to-face with Chaney. She raises her father’s unwieldy gun, and attempts to take him into custody. But he advances on her and she shoots the killer, injuring him in the arm. Now angry, he grabs her and drags her to the opposite bank and Pepper’s gang. Rooster hears the commotion, but is too late to help. Le Boeuf, too, hears the scuffle.

Now, Rooster and Le Boeuf gear up for the fight of their lives, not only to capture Chaney, but also to save the young girl whose mission it is to see justice served.

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, this version of the classic starring John Wayne, is told through the eyes of Mattie, and sticks more closely to storyline in the original novel by Charles Portis.