In a famous scene from the 1971 film “Big Jake,” Richard Boone’s character, John Fain, responds to being shot by John Wayne’s character, Jacob McCandles, by saying, “I thought you were dead.”
To which McCandles responds, “Not hardly.”
It’s a recurring theme throughout that film which, while it didn’t win any awards, remains one of my favorite westerns. By the time McCandles, in his tireless pursuit to recover his kidnapped grandson, finally gets around to shooting Fain, he himself has been beaten up by his own sons, almost killed while taking a bath, and shot in the leg during the film’s climactic gun fight. Yet the beaten and battered character somehow manages to adapt and persevere through a very difficult journey.