Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn is a fictional character who first appears in the 1968 Charles Portis novel, True Grit.
The novel was adapted into a 1969 film, True Grit, and from that a 1975 sequel entitled Rooster Cogburn (also known as Rooster Cogburn (... and the Lady)) was also produced. The character was also featured in a made-for-television sequel, entitled True Grit: A Further Adventure, made in 1978. In 2009 it was announced that the Coen brothers are planning a new film version of the novel, with Jeff Bridges playing Cogburn.
In the 1969 and 1975 theatrical releases, Cogburn was portrayed by John Wayne. Wayne garnered his only Oscar for his performance in the first of the two movies. Cogburn is portrayed as an anti-hero, which was an unusual role for Wayne, who usually played a strait-laced hero. The 1978 sequel starred Warren Oates in the featured role.
Cogburn is a veteran of the American Civil War who probably served under Confederate guerilla leader William Quantrill, where he lost his eye. He was once married to an Illinois woman, who left him to return to her first husband after bearing Cogburn a single, extremely clumsy son (of whom Cogburn says, "He never liked me anyway"). Cogburn is described as a "fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal who never knew a dry day in his life." He is "the toughest marshal" working the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) on behalf of Judge Isaac Parker, the real-life judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas (having criminal jurisdiction in the Indian Territory, as the bailiff repeatedly announces in both films). He has killed approximately 23 people during his time as a U.S. Marshall, all of which he said he killed in self defense.
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