It’s a home, but not his home.
In the end, John Wayne walks away, his battle-hardened soldier a hero to some, a villain to others, his shadow his only companion as he departs.
Community grows in the Old West, but there is no place left for the rough and tumble men who helped make it possible.
The ending of this landmark film is bittersweet, featuring a celebration over the return of Natalie Wood’s kidnapped character, but also a silent, hardly-noticed farewell, as Wayne fades into the sunset.
He got his Oscar years later, but this was his finest work.