The Searchers: Test your knowledge of John Wayne's masterpiece

Estimated Completion Time
4 min
The Searchers: Test your knowledge of John Wayne's masterpiece
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

"The Searchers" is considered to be one of the best Westerns of all time and one of John Ford's best movies. How much do you know about the movie and the behind-the-scenes drama? Saddle up, and let's head out into the Old West.
What is the story of "The Searchers" based on?
Old West folklore
A television series
Famous cowboy song
A novel
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"The Searchers" is based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and fans of the book say that it sticks close to the novel.

Why doesn't young Lucy wear the locket that Uncle Ethan gave her?
The chain is broken
It turns her neck green
It burns her skin in the sun
She gave it to Debbie
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ethan's niece Lucy was given a locket, but Debbie admits that Lucy doesn't wear it because it turns her neck green.

How tall was John Wayne?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Wayne was a towering man. This is evident throughout most of the picture, when the women look tiny next to him.


Where is the story of "The Searchers" set?
Northwest Texas
Plains of Oklahoma
Monument Valley, Utah
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The movie is set in Northwest Texas, where "cowboys and Indians" notoriously duked it out, and plains life was hard and violent.

Where was the movie actually filmed?
Northwest Texas
Monument Valley, AZ/UT
New Mexico
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Ford loved using Monument Valley to shoot his movies, thanks to its dramatic landscape and stunning vistas.

John Wayne's character, Ethan, is a veteran of which war?
American Revolution
100 Years War
Franco-American War
Civil War
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ethan was a confederate fighter in the Civil War. Much of his discontent at the beginning of the film is due to his side losing the war.


When Ethan returns from the desert, what has happened to his brother's home?
Burned to the ground
Inhabited by Indians
Sold to the Yankees
Turned into a tavern
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When Ethan returns, he sees that the home has been burnt by the Comanches, and his nieces have gone missing.

Who played the Comanche roles in the film?
British actors
Sioux Indians
Actors from Central Casting
Navajo Indians
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Indians in the film are supposed to be Comanche, but they're all played by Navajo, except for the chief Indian, Scar.

In the film, how do the Comanches bury their dead?
Under a wigwam
Beneath a tree
Under a rock
Under a buffalo
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The searchers discover an Indian burial in the desert, where a man is buried shallow in the ground but with a large, flat rock over him. Some viewers claim that the actor is moving in that scene.


Ethan comes across a herd of what kind of animal during his search?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ethan encounters a herd of buffalo, and it's a very memorable shot in the film. Where did John Ford get all those buffalo, one has to ask?

What are the searchers searching for?
The Indian who killed Ethan's brother
His adopted Nephew, Martin
His Civil War medal
His missing nieces
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The search party, which becomes just Ethan and Martin, are searching for Lucy and Debbie. However, it is discovered early on that Lucy is dead.

What's a famous "John Wayne line" in "The Searchers"?
"I'll be back."
"Yippie ki yay, Mo Fo."
"Get out of my way."
"That'll be the day."
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This famous quote is repeated a number of times in the film, and each time is more satisfying than the last.


Where is Lucy found?
Dead in a stream
Dead in a teepee
Dead in the canyon
Alive in an Indian camp
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Lucy is found dead in the canyon, but Ethan doesn't tell Marty till later. He recalls how he wrapped the girl in his jacket.

What are the people of Texas referred to as during the film?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Texas-Americas developed a fun name for themselves after the Civil War, and that was Texicans.

What does Ethan call male Indians?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Male Comanches are referred to as "bucks" in the film. Demeaning, to say the least, to call human beings horses.


What does Ethan call female Indians?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The ladies were referred to as "squaws." Some people also take this to be a derogatory word.

When Martin barters for a blanket, what does he get in return?
A hat
A peace pipe
A wife
A horse
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Martin barters for a blanket with the Indians, and he finds that he gets a wife in the bargain. The lady, Look, follows him everywhere.

What does Ethan call his adopted nephew?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ethan frequently calls Martin a blanket-head. It's uncertain what the heck that means.


What did John Wayne think about his role in "The Searchers"?
He thought it was racist.
He thought it was the worst acting of his life.
It was his favorite movie role.
He met his wife on the set.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Wayne considers "The Searchers" to be his favorite film, and the one he's the most proud of.

The final scene of the movie was ad-libbed​ in homage to which of John Wayne's friends?
Harry Carey
Rock Hudson
Clint Eastwood
Yul Brenner
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Harry Carey (a Western star, not to be confused with Harry Caray, the baseball announcer) had recently died, and at the end of the film John Wayne holds his arm for a moment; a signature Harry Carey move.

What became John Wayne's Point in Monument Valley?
The spot where the first scene was shot.
The spot where John Wayne found his niece.
The spot Natalie Wood liked best.
The ledge Jeffrey Hunter drops off of at the end of the film.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It was one of the last scenes in the movie, and it's now named after John Wayne.


Which is true about the relationship between Natalie Wood and John Wayne?
They hated each other.
He picked her up from school.
He was actually her adoptive father.
They fell in love on the set.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Natalie Wood attended high school during the shoot, and often John Wayne would have to come to school to pick her up.

Which is true about John Wayne's acting style in the movie?
He was just playing himself.
He studied cowboys for a year.
He refused to say his lines as written.
He stayed in character between takes.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

According to Harry Carey Jr's book, "Company of Heroes", John Wayne stayed in character between takes.

What brief moment of subtext at the beginning​ of the film would you miss if you blinked?
Ethan was in love with his brother's wife.
Ethan was badly wounded in the war.
Ethan secretly pitied the Comanches.
Ethan thought that Marty should be killed.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

For a brief moment, we see Ethan looking longingly at his brother's wife. John Ford suggested to Wayne that he was in love, and that perhaps Lucy and Debbie were actually his children.


In 2007, what ranking did "The Searchers" get from the American Film Institute's Greatest Movies of All Time?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's considered the greatest Western of all time, and ranked #12 as one of the Greatest Movies of All Time.

In a climactic scene in the movie, Debbie and Ethan run up a hill in Monument Valley, and where do they come down on the other side?
A waterfall
An Indian encampment
The Gobi Desert
Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

That's right. The other side of that hill was shot in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, some 647 miles away.

What did Ethan give young Debbie, which is later discovered on the Indian chief, Scar?
A bracelet
A locket
A sash
A medal
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Before she was captured, Ethan gave Debbie a medal, which he later finds being worn by Scar, just before rediscovering Debbie.


Natalie Wood played older Debbie, but who played young Debbie?
Natalie's sister
John Ford's niece
Carrie Fisher
John Wayne's daughter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, made her film debut in "The Searchers," playing young Debbie.

Who played the young, nervous military officer in the film?
John Ford's son
Natalie Wood's brother
John Wayne's son
Clint Eastwood
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Wayne's son, Patrick, played the frightened military officer. In later years, Patrick would admit that he was not acting in the scene, but was merely terrified by John Ford.

How long is the film?
3 hours
2 hours
1-and-a-half hours
3-and-a-half hours, with intermission
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"The Searchers" is almost exactly two hours, making is a perfectly-timed drama/action film.


How old was John Wayne when the film was released?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Wayne was 49 when the film was released, but looks a little older. Maybe it was all those Camel cigarettes.

What mishap occurred during the filming of "The Searchers"?
John Wayne fell off his horse.
Natalie Wood nearly drowned.
John Ford was stung by a scorpion.
A set piece collapsed on top of someone.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Ford was, indeed, stung by a scorpion. But apparently that didn't stop him from proceeding.

Which of these directors did NOT cite "The Searchers" as a key inspiration in their career?
Steven Spielberg
Alfred Hitchcock
George Lucas
Martin Scorsese
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Scorsese, Lucas and Spielberg all say that they learned a great deal from the film, and used it as an inspiration in their own.


What year was "The Searchers" released?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"The Searchers" was released in 1956, when John Wayne was at the height of his career.

What was the budget for "The Searchers"?
$10 million
$1.5 billion
$3.75 million
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Considered meager by today's standards, the budget for "The Searchers" was just 3.75 million dollars.

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