Fort Smith hosts True Grit-A-Palooza

In honor of the new movie True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld and Matt Damon, and directed by Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, Fort Smith in Arkansa hosted a True Gritapalooza. True Grit was originally a bestselling novel by Arkansas author Charles Portis. The story is set in Fort Smith and Oklahoma. The area, portrayed as late 1870s Fort Smith and Indian Territory, is featured prominently throughout the film even though actual filming was in Texas and New Mexico.

In the 1969 movie, Deputy U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn was played by John Wayne, who won his only Oscar for the role. The story involves Cogburn being hired by Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, to track down her father’s killer and return him to Fort Smith to be hanged by Judge Parker.

Among the events that took place were a Gritapalooza Night in downtown Fort Smith; a Question & Answer time with Candyce Hinkle, a Fort Smith native who has a role in the new film; and “Roosters by the Dozen,” which involved hundreds of people of all ages and genders wearing Marshal badges and eye patches at the Fort Smith National Historic Site’s Gallows. The event was documented and will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for possible acceptance as the World’s Largest Gathering of Rooster Cogburns. 

Fort Smith Communications Manager Jennifer Boulden, who helped organize the events, says, “Rooster and Mattie are both incredible characters that have captured the public’s imagination for decades. They have both have spirit, courage and true grit in spades, and we feel that they together perfectly illustrate the same qualities that have made Fort Smith great, both in the 1870s and today.” Looks like they had a lot of fun! Are you planning to see the movie or have you seen it already? We’d love to hear what you thought about it!

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Comments & Discussion

  1. C-Dub • December 27, 2010 @ 3:41 PM

    I totally want to see this movie. Classic but this is a newer updated version which is more true to the book so it should be interesting to compare.

  2. Terrence • December 29, 2010 @ 12:23 AM

    Looks like it was a lot of fun. I love the original movie and can’t wait to see the new one.

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