A Serving of John Wayne for Christmas


The Hallmark Channel plays nonstop at my house during the Christmas season.  My wife loves the one plot they repackage into dozens of Christmas movies. As a Type 1 diabetic, I stay in the other room, because I try to avoid too much sugary sweetness.

3-godfathers

Let me give you an unusual offering for your Christmas movie list: a John Wayne western. 3 Godfathers (1948) is a classic John Ford western about three outlaws. Yes, John Wayne plays an outlaw. After the three likeable outlaws rob a bank and high tail it across the desert, the pursuing marshal intentionally shoots a hole in their water bag. There are some great moments as the three outlaws try to get across the desert with no water.

So what does this have to do with Christmas? The three men encounter a dying pregnant woman. They help deliver her son and they promise the dying mother they will take care of the infant. At this point, the connections to the three wise men become obvious. They change their plans from heading to Mexico to getting the child safely to New Jerusalem, Arizona. And yes, Wayne gets the baby safely to New Jerusalem on Christmas Day. These men change inwardly because of this child.

Without giving away the ending, I can tell you that they do not get away with their crime, but it does have a strong positive message. This is not a Western retelling of the story of the wise men, but it has enough symbolism and points of connection to make this a movie worth watching and discussing as a family.

Isn’t that better than watching A Christmas Story for the 200th time?

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