Three Bad Men John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond by Scott Allen Nollen


Growing up all three of these men were an integral part of my childhood. Specifically John “Pappy” Ford in the cinemas and of course John Wayne ‘Duke’ and Ward Bond as well, but Mr Bond had the added distinction of being in my folks’ living rooms each week as Major Seth Adams, in Wagon Train.

Of course, I saw all the films and television shows long after they were initially made. The films, I saw on Saturday night at the movies (usually accompanied by a huge bowl of popcorn and a tall ice filled glass of Coca-Cola) and the Wagon Train episodes I watched were the newer ones with John McIntire with the occasional re-run with Ward Bond in. Come to think of it, the McIntire ones were probably re-runs as well.

I do remember with perfect clarity that my family adored the John Wayne film Rio Bravo and we watched it every single time it came on the telly. The Searchers was another family favourite because it was a John Ford film with both Duke and Bond in it; not to mention Hank Worden as good ole Mose Harper. Another John Ford favourite was The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

John "Pappy" Ford.
John “Pappy” Ford.

This book, lovingly crafted by Mr Nollen, tells the warts and all story of this triangular “bro-mance” long before that phrase came into vogue. These three remarkably talented men had a love affair with one another that abided until death. Not in a sexual sense, although rumours persisted that Pappy might just have an inclination “that way.” But in a father and two sons sense. Ford often spent more time with his two adopted sons than he did his own children.

Besides taking an in-depth look at all three men, Nollen gives one of the best breakdowns of Wardell Edwin Bond’s career than any other book I’ve read. I never realised that on top of the television shows he made, Bond had over 271 screen credits in films alone. Besides this all-encompassing career breakdown, we learn more of Ward himself, what made the man tick and why, perhaps, he did some of the more unpopular things that he did.

I have long been a fan of all three men and it was delightful to see such an honest telling of these men’s relationship with one another and the myths that they built and embellished over the years. It is disappointing to lose that childlike reverence for great artists, but it is more important to have an adult’s respect for what they accomplished on-screen and off; good and bad.

Wayne, for all his American for all seasons hero, personally stood for political things that hurt his personal image. These same political stances also hurt others in the same industry. Bond had similar feelings and he too practised a very biased type of politics that, like Wayne’s, could be vengeful. It was surprising, to me, to find that John Ford didn’t agree with either of his “two boys” in the area of politics, for I’d assumed (wrongly) that politically all three were peas in the same pod.

John Fords The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
John Fords The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Nollen has given us a personal look at three legends of the silver screen, big and small, and talked to some of the people who worked right along side of them. For a fan of these three talented men, this is a gold mine of a book. I only wish I could have afforded the hardback version instead of having to buy the eBook version.

Not because the eBook is less readable, but for a book about such old Hollywood legends, it would be nice to have an old-fashioned book to hold and look at.

I cannot end this review without giving thanks to Colin over at Riding the High Country blog for making me aware of this book through his excellent review of it.

If you are into books about the entertainment business this will be a 5 out of 5 stars. Only the rules of math keep me from giving it a 6 out of 5.

Wardell Edwin Bond.
Wardell Edwin Bond.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

18 thoughts on “Three Bad Men John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond by Scott Allen Nollen”

  1. Reblogged this on HAWKS WILL WESTERN and commented:
    This review is from Mike’s Film Talk. He saw Colin’s from Riding the High Country and has done a super job on this one without repeating Colin…..hard to do. Thanks Mike Sign up for His blog, and make sure you click on the Stars to show if you like it. KEITH


  2. Hi Mike, Can’t find out how to reblog yours on mine…..Colin’s worked fine, (after he told me how, LOL)! Second day Amazon is out of the book. They got more in yesterday afternoon and it was rated 23 in its category………now, sold out again. But Barnes and Nobles has it at $46 and free shipping, plus you can buy it at McFarland’s. KEITH


    1. Unfortunately, I’ll have to live with my electronic copy (which set me back 15 quid) as free shipping isn’t when you live in the UK! LOL Thanks for the tip though. I always hit the reblog button at the top, always seems to work for me; not that I’m hinting, just for future reference…LOL πŸ˜€


      1. Thanks Mike,

        DUH…………Looked all OVER your blog……never looked above it……….now I know! Reblogged and put a comment for you. HAVE to learn how to change my format so my fonts will be larger. Tried one, but it would NEVER save. Need to keep at it, but I am getting so many emails about Amazon being sold out again, LOL! Don’t know how much a Quid is, but Amazon WAS selling the book for $45 and about $8 shipping overseas……..thought that was pretty fair………..the book is extremely well made, quite large and has 400 pages or so.

        Built a HELL of a webpage over the years………..about 30 pages and sells the items I build for my business……..but this blog thing on WordPress is not to my liking, LOL! I WILL get there, though.

        Thanks again…..trying to get McFarland to sell the book at $45 and free shipping, (good luck there). Funny, Amazon got books in yesterday and were sold out this morning……..Scott is a bit miffed about the whole thing, LOL! Me TOO………..I did the promoting!

        HAGO, KEITH


  3. Mike, thanks for tossing in a link to my review there – very good of you.

    It’s a great read though, isn’t it? Absorbing, logically structured and full of little nuggets of information.


    1. No worries Colin! If I hadn’t read your post I would never have learn about the fantastic book! As you say, it was full of little nuggets of info and certainly had more information on Ward Bond than anything else I’ve read! Cheers! πŸ™‚


  4. Well, Mike, I for sure can comment on this one! Hard to beat Colin over at Riding the High Country, but you did a really great job, thanks. I will be forwarding this to Scott, the author and to McFarland, the publisher. Amazon has the paperback on sale for $35 with free postage in case anyone thinks it is really high. This book is “built” by McFarland…they don’t come any better. Thanks again, Mike, and thanks for reading one of my Ward articles. KEITH


    1. I’d say always a pleasure, but I’ve just started reading your posts! LOL No worries, it’s nice to meet someone who has similar passions! Oh! And thanks for forwarding my post! I am deeply grateful! πŸ˜€


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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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