John Wayne Estate Drops Trivia Question for Fans About ‘Stagecoach’ Stuntman

by Matthew Wilson

Think you’re the ultimate fan of the Duke? Well, the John Wayne Estate dropped a trivia question about Wayne’s earliest cinematic ventures.

On Instagram, the John Wayne Estate shared a question regarding the film “Stagecoach,” released in 1939. The account shared a scene from the classic western. They asked fans, “Do you know the name of the stuntman who performed this stunt in Stagecoach?”

The scene in question featured a hair-raising stunt. A rider jumped from a lone horse onto a pack of horses in front of the titular stagecoach. That enough may prove daring. But after Wayne’s Ringo Kid shot the rider, he fell from the horses and underneath the stagecoach, just avoiding getting ran over. Given the practicality of the stunt, one wrong move could have injured the stunt man. So who was brave enough to perform the feat?

That would be frequent John Wayne collaborator Yakima Canutt. Did you guess the trivia question right? Perhaps, you should apply to be on “Jeopardy!” if so.

John Wayne and His Cowboy Stunt Man

Yakima Canutt was in real life what John Wayne wanted to be in film. The stuntman’s real name was Enos. Like Wayne, Cannutt decided to change his name when he went to Hollywood. Canutt grew up learning the skills of the rodeo, which helped translate to his stunt work. He learned to bring down steers and riding horses.

As a stunt man, Cannutt’s work was unparalleled. He quickly made a name for himself in the business for high-flying stunts. Cannutt knew how to stage a fight or a stagecoach crash to make the stunts look realistic. He worked on a number of films including “Gone With the Wind,” “Zorro” and “Lone Ranger.”

Cannutt even inspired a young John Wayne when he was creating his on-screen persona. The two first met back in 1930 before Duke Morrison became the John Wayne we all remember today. Wayne was looking to create a rough and tough on-screen persona. And he partially drew from Cannutt as a real-life inspiration. The stuntman and Wayne ended up working on a number of films together. It’s hard to say where not just Wayne but also cinema would be without Cannutt and his contributions.

Ultimately, Cannutt moved into directing later in life. The stuntman passed away in 1986 at the age of 90-years-old.