…to let Independence Day weekend go without any mention of John Wayne, especially so close to the 30th anniversary of his death in 1979. So here’s a trailer for Don Siegel’s 1976 film of “The Shootist,” probably the most fitting final film any screen icon ever got.

Directed by one of mid-century Hollywood’s greatest action directors, and with an astonishing supporting cast that includes two equally iconic classic era greats, a young man who’d become one of the dominant players in modern Hollywood, and some wonderful character actors from past western classics, “The Shootist” had a brutality and frankness that classic-ear Hollywood would never have tolerated, but really does feel something the final true classic-style Hollywood western.

People still wonder about just how westerns went from being the dominant genre to an occasional change of pace. (Innumerable dull TV westerns didn’t help; I know I avoided westerns for years because of them.) In any case, it seems that when Duke’s real-life lung cancer finally got him three years later, he kind of took westerns with him. Seems fitting.

Here’s a tribute from last June by Roger Ebert.