John Wayne in the Big TrailAnnouncement Date : Jan 1 , 1930
With a few years of property and extra work under his belt, young Duke caught the eye of director Raoul Walsh. Walsh, who by the late 1920’s was already an accomplished actor, writer, producer and director, saw something in the tall young actor, and cast him in his first starring role as Breck Coleman. The film was “The Big Trail” (1930).
It was on this set that Marion Morrison acquired the name John Wayne, which he would use for the remainder of his personal and professional life. Also on the set of “The Big Trail” was Duke’s colleague and fellow USC football player Ward Bond. The friends would go on to star in many films with Wayne during his career, including “The Searchers” (1956).
The Big Trail has been tagged “The Most Important Picture Ever Produced.” The “all talking” picture was selected as one of 25 films for the 2006 National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.