John Wayne Once Bought Cadillac for a Cotton Farmer: Here’s the Incredible Reason Why

by Will Shepard

John Wayne is one of the most celebrated actors. He is often the person that comes to mind when you think of a Western. More importantly, “The Duke” really did embody the characters he played in his movies.

In his spare time, he worked on a ranch he owned. He raised cattle on his ranch and had his own cotton farm in a county called Maricopa. John Wayne spent a lot of his time on his Arizona ranch.

During the 1950s, the legendary actor decided to buy land to start a ranch. So, he purchased about 4,000 acres in the area surrounding Maricopa. He spent about $4 million on the property. More importantly, though, he saw the land as an investment.

Consequently, he hired a local broker to grow cotton on the farm. Because he still was a hard-working actor, he couldn’t take the time to become a cotton farmer. So, he hired his neighbor, Louis Johnson – an excellent cotton farmer – to work his fields.

Johnson almost immediately began to prove his value to John Wayne. The profit that the cotton was making for the actor was incredible. Perhaps the coolest thing that “The Duke” ever did was make a bet with Johnson. Alice, Johnson’s wife, said that if her husband was able to make four or more bales of cotton per acre on the property that Wayne would buy him a Cadillac.

It turned out really nicely for Johnson. The cotton farmer was able to produce four or more bales per acre for four years. So, the legendary actor bought him four brand new Cadillacs over the years.

Unfortunately, water problems began to crop up for John Wayne in the 1960s. Because of this, he phased cotton out and transitioned the ranch into a full-time cattle operation.

John Wayne Owned a Private Island in Panama That Is Now up for Sale

John Wayne was given an island in Panama after he provided serious support to the Panamanian government in its fight with America.

Initially, the Panama Canal was controlled by the U.S. right after it was built. But, in 1964, a dispute between the two country’s governments took place. President Carter decided to give control of the canal back to the Panamanian government. During the controversy, Wayne chose to side with President Carter.

John Wayne’s wife at the time was Panamanian, so it made sense for him to side with Panama. Josephine, his wife, was good friends with Omar Torrijos, Panama’s leader at the time. So, after the actor expressed his public support, Torrijos decided to reward him excellently.

The actor was given an island off the coast of Panama called Isla Taborcillo. Quickly, it became known as the “John Wayne Island.” He opened a lot of themed restaurants and stores around the island.

The island is covered with tourist attractions and events related to the actor. Now, though, the island is up for sale. The price for it is quite steep, however, as its price tag is $16 million. In total, the island is 49 acres.