Big Jake is an extremely slick and commercial John Wayne starrer, this time as a long-gone husband out to rescue a grandson from kidnapper Richard Boone.
Harry Julian Fink and R.M. Fink’s original story and script is well-structured and fleshed with solid dialog. It opens with a 10-person slaughter 13 minutes into the film. Maureen O’Hara, as a strong-willed woman whose husband (Wayne) has long since departed, sends for him to track down Boone’s gang which has kidnapped grandson John Ethan Wayne (the star’s own eight-year-old son). Sons Patrick Wayne and Christopher Mitchum mature, in a manner of speaking, when they team up with their father. Bruce Cabot’s performance as an Indian scout is excellent.
There is gore spattered all over the screen. A Wayne film doesn’t have to resort to such excess. Performances are totally professional. Wayne and Boone snarl extremely well at each other. Patrick Wayne handles his role with a fine cockiness. Mitchum is very good. Bobby Vinton plays another son who has little footage.