Westerns had been popular B-pictures in cinema’s earliest days, but in the late Twenties they fell from fashion. In 1939, with Stagecoach, John Ford brought them roaring back, gave them grandeur and poetry, and hence respectability. Stagecoach was Hollywood venturing out of the studios and into the wild: in this case, to Monument Valley, on the border between Arizona and Utah.The film brought together a cross-section of Frontier society and set them on a deadly journey through the desert: among them were a drunken doctor, a whore, a lady, a gentleman-gambler, and Ford’s handsome outlaw on the run. Again, there was escapism and social satire, but also serious proto-blockbuster thrills, most of all in the hair-raising climactic chase across the Arizona salt flats. The ending was a happy one, too.It also made a star out of the young lead- John Wayne.