True Grit 50th Anniversary

The Friends of the Fort will host Anita Swift, granddaughter of legendary actor John Wayne, for a special visit to Fort Smith on Saturday, July 13, 2019.

Mrs. Swift will visit Judge Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom at the Fort Smith National Historic Site as part of the 50th anniversary of the film debut of True Grit. The movie earned John Wayne the only Oscar of his acting career, and Mrs. Swift says it remained one of her grandfather’s favorite films. She expressed an interest in seeing the actual location featured in the 1969 movie, especially the courtroom of the famous Judge Parker.

Following Mrs. Swift’s visit to the Fort Smith National Historic Site, a reception will be held in her honor at the historic Darby Junior High School on Grand Avenue in Fort Smith. The reception will begin at 4 PM and will include light refreshments for guests. At 5 PM, Mrs. Swift will address attendees from the stage of Darby Junior High, after which a special screening of True Grit will take place. Afterward, Cody Faber, Fort Smith National Historic Site Park Ranger, will discuss the historical accuracy of the story and answer questions from the audience.

Anita La Cava Swift is the oldest grandchild of John Wayne and was 21 years of age when he died of cancer. Since his death, Mrs. Swift has worked with the John Wayne Cancer Institute and traveled the county sharing the legacy of her grandfather. During her visit to Fort Smith, Mrs. Swift will share stories of John Wayne’s starring role in True Grit and what it meant to his life and career.

Tickets to the reception and film screening are $30 per person. You may order your tickets by calling the Friends of the Fort at 479-831-9724 or The Clayton House at 479-783-3000. Tickets will also be available through the Friends of the Fort face-book page.

Money raised from this event will be used to support the Fort Smith National Historic Site’s educational and interpretive programs.

For more information, please contact Floyd Robison at 479/ 831-9274 or email

* Please confirm directly with the promoter or box office to ensure event details have not changed.