John Wayne’s Son Patrick Reveals Trouble with Filming ‘McLintock!’ Iconic Mudslide Scene

by Josh Lanier
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One of the funniest and most memorable scenes from the John Wayne comedy McLintock! is the mudslide fight. But filming it was anything but fun, according to The Duke’s son Patrick.

Patrick Wayne appeared on the first episode of The Gritcast, a podcast hosted by his little brother Ethan Wayne. Their sister Marisa Wayne also shows up to tell stories about their dad.

Patrick, who stars as Ethan Warren in the film, said it was a tough shoot. Mainly because the weather made life miserable.

“We were working in Tucson (Arizona) … the temperature was 85 to 100 every day,” Patrick Wayne says on the podcast. “So then we had a sequence we had to do called ‘The mudslide.’ And we were going to be four days on the mudslide. The mudslide was out of Tucson quite a ways. So we stayed in Tombstone. The temperature dropped to 40 degrees. I’m not kidding you. They had to put space heaters in the pond at the bottom of this mudslide hill because it was frozen every morning.”

Filming took so long because all of the stunts were practical. There was no CGI in 1963, so filming the fight scenes took much longer than it would today.

Patrick said he stayed with John Wayne in an awful motel near where they were filming that scene.

“The room we shared made Motel 6 look like … the Four Seasons,” he said.

The two men shivered the night away under the thin blankets the motel offered.

John Wayne Fought the Studio to Perform a Stunt in ‘McLintock!’

Most movie stars use a stunt double to film any of the more dangerous scenes in a movie. Movie studios insist on this arrangement because an injury to a star can halt a multi-million dollar production for days or even weeks.

But there is a stunt in McLintock! that John Wayne said he was filming. And when The Duke decided to do something, there wasn’t much anyone could say to stop him.

The scene is pretty straightforward. John Wayne scares co-star Maureen O’Hara, who falls from a balcony onto a pile of hay. Wayne then leaps onto the hay next to her. Seems simple enough, and Wayne “thought it looked fun.” So, he wanted to film it, according to IMDB.

The studio thought it was too dangerous and insisted a stuntman step in. Wayne refused, and the stalemate nearly shut down the production. They eventually compromised. Wayne could film the scene, the studio said, but the director would first shoot it with the stunt double.

O’Hara shot most of her stunts in the movie as well, True West magazine said. That’s her in the famous mud fight scene. And in the iconic spanking scene, that’s John Wayne whooping her. Wayne got a little too into filming that scene, though. She had bruises on her backside for days afterward, according to IMDB.

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