Shootist II

A sequel to The Shootist, the John Wayne movie filmed in Carson City, might seem unlikely since the title character played by Wayne died at the end of the story. But the son of the author of the book on which the movie was based has written a sequel, anyway.

The 1975 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout was basis for Wayne's last movie. It told a tale of an aging and terminally ill gunfighter, John Bernard Books, who travels to Carson City to consult a doctor and end his days.

In the case of The Shootist, the screenplay was written by Scott Hale and Miles Hood Swarthout, the author's son, who has now published The Last Shootist. This portrays Gillom Rogers, a boy who idealized Books, as taking Books' guns off his body and planning a career of his own as a gunfighter: “He now possessed J.B. Books's matched Remingtons! Gillom Rogers slowed his walk, wondering where he would get a double-holster rig to house these legendary nickel-plated Remington .44s. Or should he have a silk vest made like Books's, with leather holster pockets sewn on either side of the chest, angled forty-five degrees inward for a cross-handed draw? Too late to get J.B.'s.”

Rogers, portrayed in the Wayne movie by Ron Howard, then follows a predictable path of spurning his mother's college plans for him, getting into gunfights, meeting a beautiful dancer in Arizona, maturing under the influence of a good woman, and reconsidering his career choice.

The elder Swarthout's short stories and novels were the source of at least four other movies—7th Cavalry, They Came To Cordura, Bless the Beasts and Children, Where the Boys Are. His son has written several screenplays, including the 1978 teleplay of his father's story, “A Christmas Gift AKA The Melodeon” (filmed as A Christmas to Remember starring Eva Marie Saint and Jason Robards).