3 Godfathers (1949) Review

3 Godfathers (1949) Director: John Ford

While certainly not John Ford’s most renowned film, 3 Godfathers is an entertaining old western film. It was set in a place called Welcome, AZ though it was actually filmed in Death Valley. The film is thought to be a modified retelling of the three wise men story.

The film tells the story of three cattle ranchers, led by Robert “Bob” Hightower (John Wayne), who rob a bank in Welcome, Arizona. As they flee the town, the youngest is shot in the arm and they escape on horseback into the desert with limited water. Sheriff Sweet tries to block their access to water at every turn and the three men discover an abandoned woman and ‘Pete’ helps her deliver a baby. Shortly before she dies, she names the three men her baby’s godfathers, and she names the baby after them, Robert William Pedro. Pedro and William wind up dead in the desert, and Robert makes his way back to Welcome in a delirium. Sheriff Sweet catches Robert, but becomes good friends with him and his sentence is reduced to the minimum charge once they hear the story of the baby. He gives a rousing farewell to the town as he leaves for prison on a train.

3 Godfathers is an entertaining and sentimental film, however it falls short of greatness in its almost whimsical silliness. It is a good film worth watching for John Ford and John Wayne.

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