John Ford and John Wayne collaborated on twenty-four movies over the course of their respective careers. Movie historians and critics have made a special classification for three of these movies. They call them The Cavalry Trilogy.
Fort Apache, made in 1948, was the first of these movies (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande would complete the series.) It should be noted that it was others who made this designation. Ford and Wayne didn't necessarily see the movies as connected by anything other than the fact that they all took place on old west Cavalry forts.
The movies by and large feature the same cast members (John Wayne, Victor McLaglen, Ben Johnson, Harey Carey, Ward Bond and John Agar) but do not tell the stories of recurring characters. This, despite the fact that in Fort Apache Wayne's character is named Kirby York and in Rio Grande his name is Kirby Yorke.
What these movies do have in common are the beautiful open vistas of Monument Valley, the stories that memorialize the strength, honor and bravery of the men of the United States Cavalry who patrolled the west in the two decades following the Civil war and of course … John Wayne.
The third movie in John Ford's Calvary trilogy chronicles John Wayne's final days before retirement and is just as good as the other two: Rio Grande and Fort Apache. We spotlight them all in this Tribute to She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.