John Wayne Resurrected By Sci-Fi Movie

The Duke alive again for science fiction? It may sound strange, but it's true; John Wayne's last released performance, in a 1984 movie using footage shot before his death, is finally about to be made available to the public.

The movie, titled "Thunder Riders of the Golden West," was made 25 years ago by Dave Burleson, a former actor and friend of Wayne's, but remained unreleased until now. Wayne's involvement may be minor; the actor died in 1979, and Burleson says that "[i]t's not the last movie he acted in, but it's the last performance to be released," which would suggest that the footage was filmed before 1976's The Shootist, thought to feature Wayne's final performance. Whether this means that all fans will see are some awkwardly edited-in shots of Wayne on the telephone to characters more involved in the plot or something else remains to be seen; for his part, Burleson says only,

It's really something for people to see one last John Wayne performance.

The movie, which tells the story of trucking cowboys looking for gold on the site of atomic bomb tests, will be released on DVD by Burleson himself later this year.

Sci-fi western has appearance by John Wayne [Houston Chronicle]