John Wayne

John Wayne infuriated John Ford on The Horse Soldiers set plagued with tragedy

John Wayne couldn't stand John Ford on The Horse Soldiers set and begged the film's producer to lie to the director for him, enraging the filmmaker who found out the truth through his spies.

Back in 1959, John Wayne teamed up with his longtime collaborator and fellow Hollywood conservative John Ford on what would be the filmmaker’s only full American Civil War movie. Duke and his The Horse Soldiers co-star William Holden managed to negotiate a whopping $775,000 (almost $8 million today) each, plus 20 per cent of the overall profits. This was an unheard-of sum at the time, yet there would be none of the latter to share as the movie was a box office bomb with a “lacklustre” response from the critics and audience. What made this failure even more painful was just how incredibly tough the film had been to make. Not only were Holden and Ford constantly arguing, but there were cost overruns, serious injuries and even a tragic death. All the while, the alcoholic director had been forced by his doctor to go sober or risk perishing from the side effects of his heavy boozing. This made the notoriously cantankerous and uncompromising filmmaker all the more unbearable for Wayne, who was at the end of his tether.

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