True Grit is a 1968 novel by Charles Portis that was first published as a 1968 serial in The Saturday Evening Post. The novel is told from the perspective of a woman named Mattie Ross who recounts the time when she was 14 years old and sought retribution for the murder of her father by a scoundrel named Tom Chaney. It is considered by many critics to be "one of the great American novels".
In 1969 it was adapted for the screen as a Western film True Grit starring John Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (a role that won John Wayne Best Actor at the Academy Awards) and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross.
Mia Farrow was originally cast as Mattie and was keen on the role. However, prior to filming she made a film in England with Robert Mitchum, who advised her not to work with director Henry Hathaway because he was "cantankerous". Farrow asked producer Hal B. Wallis to replace Hathaway with Roman Polanski, who had directed Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby," but Wallis refused. Farrow quit the role, which went to Kim Darby.
Wayne called Marguerite Roberts' script “the best [he’d] ever read”. He particularly liked the scene with Darby where Rooster tells Mattie about his wife in Illinois, calling it the best scene he ever did. However, Wayne found working with Kim Darby a very unpleasant experience. He said that "she is the worst goddamned actress I have ever worked with".He called Darby a spoiled brat and completely unprofessional. Wayne also had issues with actors Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall during filming. It was said that he chased Hopper with a loaded gun and almost got into a fistfight with Duvall.
In the last scene, Mattie gives Rooster her father's gun. She comments that he's gotten a tall horse, as she expected he would. He notes that his new horse can jump a four-rail fence. Then she admonishes him, "You're too old and fat to be jumping horses". Rooster responds with a smile, saying, “Well, come see a fat old man sometime”, and jumps his new horse over a fence. Contrary to rumors that Wayne didn't do his stunts, the fact is that he did in fact do the stunts which was verified by Kim Darby.Wayne liked the horse he used in the film, A chestnut Quarter horse gelding, Dollor ('Ole Dollor) so much that he used the animal in The Shootist and several other films. Robert Wagner rode the horse in a segment of the Hart to Hart television show, after Wayne's death.