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Three Bad Men


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Just finished reading a new book by Scott Allen Nollen about the intertwined careers and complex personal lives of John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond. The title of the book is taken from Ford's 1926 western "Three Bad Men" about the Dakota land rush.

There have been many bios of Ford and Wayne but none have thought to focus on all three men and explore their creative (ahem) Bond.

Mr. Nollen offers a brief introduction of each and then chronicles their friendship and career highs and lows. Each anecdote is well documented and Nollen even had the good fortune to interview several participants over the years, such as Henry Brandon and Anna Lee. For example, while filming "Stagecoach", Ford berated Andy Devine -"You big tub of lard. I don't know why I'm using you in this picture." Devine replied "Because Ward Bond can't drive six horses".

There's an interesting forward by Michael Hoey and many stills which I had never seen before, but the nurturing/toxic love between Pappy and his two "sons" is a revelation.

The author, naturally, expresses it best in his preface - "This is an honest account of incredible ingenuity, creativity, toil, perseverance, bravery, debauchery, futility, abuse, ****, violence, warfare, open- and closed-mindedness, control and chaos, brilliance and stupidity, rationality and insanity, friendship and a testing of its limits, love and hate, all committed by a 'half-genius, half Irish' cinematic visionary and his two surrogate sons".

I thought that I would share this with TCM fans who would appreciate this more than any other fanbase.

It's available from www.mcfarlandpub.com or 800-253-2187.

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Thanks Gorch for reviewing the book for Scott.....it was 28 years in the making,. And thanks for your post on the John Wayne Message Board, Dukewayne.com.


This is the first book that ever gave credit to a most outstanding, natural actor from his first film, Salute.....he had never acted before. Also, Ward Bond was very well educated. Scott finally puts Ward into a different light than he has been cast in the last 50 years. And he shows how most everything both on and off screen revolved around the three men........not just two. In fact, Ward was a great help in getting Duke from being a singing cowboy type to being the rough and tumble guy we came to love. Ward was that way from the beginning! Also, until his death, Ward spent a good bit more time with Pappy than Duke did. Scott certainly straightened out some well ingrained misconceptions.


Thanks again and good job. The book can also be bought from Amazon at a low rate right now with free shipping.....not sure how long that will last. KEITH

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*3 BAD MEN (1926)* is on DVD from Fox. Part of the John Ford at Fox Silents Box set. It has a great cast, including Olive Borden, George O' Brien, and Phyllis Haver. Never is shown on TCM. Trying to recall who the Three bad men are in the picture. Been along time since I watched this.

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The three badmen were :


Tom Santschi as "Bull" Stanley

Frank Campeau as "Spade" Allen

J. Farrell MacDonald as Mike Costigan....


Of the three, MacDonald had the longest career, it started around 1911 and went to 1951. His two most famous roles were the old man whose tree in hit by James Stewart in "It's A Wonderful Life" and as "Mac" the bartender in Ford's "My Darling Clementine"....


Edited by: fredbaetz on May 13, 2013 2:00 AM

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