The Searchers

The Searchers is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision epic Western film directed by John Ford and written by Frank S. Nugent, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May. It is set during the Texas-Native American wars, and stars John Wayne as a middle-aged Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece (Natalie Wood), accompanied by his adopted nephew Martin (Jeffrey Hunter).


In 1868, Ethan Edwards returns after an eight-year absence to the home of his brother Aaron in West Texas. Ethan fought in the Civil War (1861-1865) on the side of the Confederacy, and in the three years since that war ended, he apparently fought in the Second Franco–Mexican War (1861-1867), as well. He has a large quantity of gold coins of uncertain origin in his possession, and a medal from the Mexican campaign that he gives to his eight-year-old niece, Debbie. As a former Confederate soldier, he is asked to take an oath of allegiance to the Texas Rangers; he refuses.