Skip to content

My Darling Clementine

  • Directed by John Ford
  • United States, 1946, 97 mins.

One of John Ford’s finest Westerns, and possibly the best known cinematic telling of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral myth, My Darling Clementine quietly shimmers in its focus on the lyrical side of the American West. Henry Fonda plays Wyatt Earp, the legendary yet reluctant lawman of Tombstone, where he and his brothers stop during a cattle drive only to find a lawless, ramshackle town in need of cleaning up. When the youngest Earp brother is murdered while watching their cattle, Wyatt seeks justice and takes over as town marshal just as the Clantons, the region’s nastiest gang, roll in to town. While Ford stays relatively faithful to the legend, his focus on the bourgeoning relationship between Earp and new arrival Clementine Carter (Cathy Downs) makes the film much more than a simple shoot-‘em-up in the classic Western mold.

Genres: Western

Other Films by John Ford

The Grapes of Wrath

Ford’s classic humanist masterpiece, an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel, stars Henry Fonda in one of his most memorable roles as the laborer Tom Joad, who undergoes an ideological awakening during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Initially released from prison and set adrift, Joad returns to his Oklahoma family farm only to see

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” That most famous of lines from John Ford’s late-career masterpiece is an excellent summation of the mythological aspects of not only the American West—a subject about which Ford was the undisputed master—but of American-style politics and its tenuous relationship to the mainstream

The Long Voyage Home

Between 1939 and his departure for the war in 1942, director John Ford was in the middle of a remarkable string of masterpieces. Gregg Toland, one the greatest-ever cinematographers, was revolutionizing film style with the deep-focus camera techniques that would culminate in his work on Citizen Kane. Together, Toland and Ford transformed this adaptation of