The Wild West US Marshall role would be his best known, starring in the series for an incredible 20 years. Yet when it came time to return the favour, Wayne would be severely disappointed.
By the end of the 1950s, Duke had been working on his passion project for almost 15 years: a big budget movie about the Battle of the Alamo. He had been originally offered just $3 million by Republic Pictures and ended up feuding with the studio and leaving to found Batjac himself.
Wayne had planned to play the small role of Sam Houston in 1960’s The Alamo. However, he couldn’t get the $12 million ($120 million today) budget he wanted from backers without starring as Davy Crockett himself. The incredibly invested Duke also had to contribute $1.5 million of his own money by taking out second mortgages on his houses and using his cars and yacht as collateral to obtain loans.
Now the role of Houston was open and the Western legend – who was also making his directorial debut with The Alamo – reached out to his old friend Arness about the part.
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