It is now widely regarded as the greatest western of the 1950s, the genre’s greatest decade. The tale of a loner searching for a missing daughter has been remade scores of times (most recently in Mel Gibson’s Edge of Darkness). But John Ford’s darkly profound study of obsession, racism and heroic solitude was shrugged off when it first appeared. Though Ford was Hollywood’s most honored auteur, with four Oscars as Best Director, he got nothing when he made his masterpiece. The Academy also ignored the towering performance of John Wayne as the scarred Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards, who either exorcises his demons or surrenders to them in violent revenge. Wayne would finally get an Oscar for his assured but much less complex performance as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. But reward his most powerful role? That’ll be the day.