“Fill your hands, you sunuvabitch”
With that challenge, John Wayne‘s one-eyed, world-weary, bad-tempered, drunken US Marshal Rooster Cogburn grips the reins of his horse in his teeth and gallops towards outlaw “lucky” Ned Pepper (played by Robert Duvall) and three of his henchmen, a rifle in one hand, a pistol in the other, both guns blazing.
The film is 1969’s True Grit and the scene is one of the great classic Western gunfights, not to mention one of Wayne’s finest on-screen moments (for which he won an Oscar).
Note in particular the twirling, one-handed rifle reloading – a trick that Arnold Schwarzenegger would homage 22 years later in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
The scene comes near the end of the movie. For the uninitiated, it comes after Cogburn is hired by headstrong 14-year-old girl Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) to help her track down the man who killed her father and bring him to justice. After a long search, aided by Texas Ranger La Boeuf (played by singer Glen Campbell), they find him holed up along with Pepper’s gang.