Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about Westerns?

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December 2, 2020
Warner Bros.

Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about Westerns?

After hosting more than 7,500 episodes of "Jeopardy!" Alex Trebek passed away on Nov. 8, 2020. He first joined the show in 1984 and remained there all the way up to his unfortunate death. Along the way, he received a number of major awards, including seven Daytime Emmys and a Peabody Award. He was also quite the philanthropist, so much so that he and his wife set up their own charitable foundation.

Between his diligent work ethic, warm heart, and understated demeanor, Trebek was quite unlike any other game show host of his time. There was a downright classic quality to his style, which made it all the more impactful when he cracked the occasional pun. One might even say that Trebek embodied the traits of an Old Hollywood movie hero, letting his actions speak louder than his words. Hyperbolic perhaps, but it provides the perfect segue into the subject of Westerns.

Featuring rugged characters and heroic themes, Westerns occupy their own special corner of movie history. Cheap to produce and immensely popular, the genre dominated Hollywood from the silent era to the 1950s. Even as it became less ubiquitous, figures like Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood helped take it in new and exciting directions. Meanwhile, Trebek's favorite film of all time was the 1941 drama "How Green Was My Valley." While not a Western in the direct sense, it was helmed by genre stalwart John Ford.

Culled from the "Jeopardy!" Archive, Stacker presents real clues about Westerns. As one will soon discover, the clues range from fairly easy to highly challenging. In fact, at least three of the following clues stumped all three contestants during the actual show. Now it's time to put your own skills to the test, so ready those proverbial holsters. Do you have what it takes to solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues? Well, do ya?!

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #1

- Clue: This 1964 Sergio Leone film starring Clint Eastwood introduced the spaghetti Western.
- Category: Movie Money
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Dec. 6, 2012

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Jolly Film

Answer #1: What is 'A Fistful of Dollars'?

One of the most fruitful collaborations in movie history, Clint Eastwood and director Sergio Leone worked together on three iconic Westerns. Each film offered ruthless takes on heroism, violence, and vulgarity, thereby redefining the entire genre. It became collectively known as the "Dollars Trilogy" or, alternately, the "Man with No Name Trilogy."

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #2

- Clue: Matt Damon took on Glen Campbell's Texas Ranger role in the remake of this Western.
- Category: Movie Remakes
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 27, 2011

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Paramount Pictures

Answer #2: What is 'True Grit'?

A 1968 novel by Charles Portis inspired two classic adaptations of the same name. The first starred John Wayne in his one and only Oscar-winning performance. The second was a smash hit for the Coen brothers, and it remains their highest-grossing effort to date.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #3

- Clue: This alliterative name for a hangout of western movie extras made the news in 1940 when one cowboy gunned down another for real.
- Category: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Jan. 14, 2020

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vesperstock // Shutterstock

Answer #3: What was 'Gower Gulch'?

Upon migrating to Hollywood in search of work, former real-life cowboys would hang out at a drugstore on the corner of Sunset and Gower. When Jerome B. "Blackjack" Ward killed his archnemesis in a standoff, the press informally named the area Gower Gulch. It has since been memorialized as a kitschy strip mall with a Western theme.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #4

- Clue: Yup, it's the Western for which Gary Cooper won an acting Oscar.
- Category: The Film Vault
- Value: $300
- Date episode aired: Feb. 22, 2000

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Stanley Kramer Productions

Answer #4: What is 'High Noon'?

With its humanist themes and supposed communist ties, this 1952 Western was abhorred by machismo actor John Wayne. It's now considered a seminal classic with no shortage of iconic scenes. In addition to Best Actor, it won two Academy Awards for the music and one for Best Editing.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #5

- Clue: This Thomas Berger Western about a white boy brought up by the Cheyenne became a Dustin Hoffman movie.
- Category: Western Novels
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: March 29, 2018

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Cinema Center Films

Answer #5: What is 'Little Big Man'?

Like the book upon which it's based, this revisionist Western flips the script on various genre tropes. Dustin Hoffman plays Jack Crabb, whose Native American upbringing puts him at a crossroads between two cultural worlds. While satirical in spirit, both the book and film expose the dark underbelly of American history.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #6

- Clue: He directed John Wayne in many Westerns, including "The Searchers" and "Fort Apache."
- Category: $600
- Value: Film Directors
- Date episode aired: May 7, 1997

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Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #6: Who was John Ford?

Arguably the most famous pairing in Western movie history, director John Ford and actor John Wayne worked together on more than 14 films. They first crossed paths in the 1920s, but it wasn't until 1939's "Stagecoach" that their creative partnership was born. Even as their political outlooks diverged, the two men continued to collaborate throughout their respective careers.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #7

- Clue: Named for the way it rolls around lonely streets in Western movies, this plant was imported to the U.S. from Russia.
- Category: Potpourri
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: April 27, 2020

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Bill Johnson // Getty Images

Answer #7: What is a tumbleweed?

The earliest tumbleweed seeds were supposedly imported to South Dakota in the 1870s. The dry weed thrived over subsequent decades and later became a staple of the Western genre. While seemingly innocuous, tumbleweeds can cause serious harm when moving in large groups and at high speeds.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #8

- Clue: A 1992 Western: "Hell, I even thought I was dead, 'til I found out it was just that I was in Nebraska."
- Category: Movie Quotes
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Nov. 22, 2000

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Warner Bros.

Answer #8: What is 'Unforgiven'?

Clint Eastwood's return to the Western genre yielded one of the greatest films of his career. He directed, produced, and starred, playing retired gunslinger William Munny. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #9

- Clue: This Best Western of 1958-59 was remade in 1994 as a movie starring Mel Gibson.
- Category: 1950s Emmys
- Value: DD: $1000 (original value $600)
- Date episode aired: Sept. 14, 2000

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Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions

Answer #9: What is 'Maverick'?

Both the initial series and big-screen remake of "Maverick" follow a charismatic card hustler in the American Old West. Actor James Garner played the original Bret Maverick, then starred in the remake as Marshal Zane Cooper. The film version also features cameos from a number of Western film actors and country music stars.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #10

- Clue: Ex-Lions lineman Alex Karras KO'ed a horse with one punch in this comedy/Western film.
- Category: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Nov. 27, 2012

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Warner Bros.

Answer #10: What is 'Blazing Saddles'?

Hall of Famer Alex Karras played defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions from 1958 to 1970. He starred as himself in the 1968 football drama "Paper Lion" before landing the role of Mongo in Mel Brooks' classic. He later appeared in movies such as "Porky's" and "Against All Odds," and played George Papadapolis on the TV show "Webster."

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Clue #11

- Clue: Classic Western whose title could have been copied from an Arizona train schedule.
- Category: "Ten" Movies
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: May 16, 1988

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Answer #11: What is '3:10 to Yuma'?

A short story by Elmore Leonard became the basis for this 1957 Western, in which a small-town rancher escorts an outlaw to justice. It was remade in 2007 under the same name, starring Russell Crowe (pictured here) as the captured outlaw. Both versions score relatively high marks on sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

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Clue #12

- Clue: Shot in New Jersey in 1903, this film, some 10 minutes in length, is often called the first Western ever.
- Category: Trains
- Value: $300
- Date episode aired: April 13, 1987

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Picture Post // Getty Images

Answer #12: What is 'The Great Train Robbery'?

Depicting a high-stakes train robbery, this film made use of the Edison Company's latest technological advancements. With groundbreaking editing techniques and special effects, it became a massive success. The famous closing scene—in which an outlaw points his gun directly at the crowd—had viewers ducking in their seats.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #13

- Clue: The movie star who founded L.A.'s Museum of Western Heritage.
- Category: The Gene Pool
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Jan. 9, 2004

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Silver Screen Collection // Getty Images

Answer #13: Who was Gene Autry?

Autry touched down on a full spectrum of popular mediums throughout the 20th century. What began with a career in country music expanded to film, TV, and broadcasting. In bringing his signature yodel onto the big screen, he became cinema's first singing cowboy.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #14

- Clue: Drew Barrymore was one of several pistol packin' hustlers in this 1994 Western.
- Category: "Bad" Movies
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, July 15, 1998

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Twentieth Century Fox

Answer #14:: What is 'Bad Girls'?

A critical and commercial misfire, this 1994 Western nevertheless assembled a top-notch cast of female talent. Actors Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Andie MacDowell appear alongside Barrymore. Barrymore's next major film was the 1995 dramedy "Boys on the Side."

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Clue #15

- Clue: It's said this 1939 John Ford Western was the first movie filmed at Monument Valley in Utah and Arizona.
- Category: John Wayne Films
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Jan. 10, 1997

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Answer #15: What is 'Stagecoach'?

The Western that made John Wayne a star follows a traveling stagecoach through hostile territory. Director John Ford later shot many films in the same area, including 1956's "The Searchers." Monument Valley has since become a popular tourist attraction.

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Clue #16

- Clue: This singer's films include the Westerns "Flaming Star," "Charro!" and "Love Me Tender."
- Category: Westerns
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 2, 2008

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20th Century Fox // Getty Images

Answer #16: Who was Elvis?

The same year he released his debut album, Elvis appeared on screen in "Love Me Tender." He returned to the Western genre time and again throughout his acting career. Fun fact: 1968's "Charro!" is the only Elvis film in which he doesn't sing on camera.

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Clue #17

- Clue: The Errol Flynn Western named for this city climaxes with a gunfight at the Alamo.
- Category: Movie Geography
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Feb. 26, 1998

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Silver Screen Collection // Getty Images

Answer #17: What is 'San Antonio'?

Flynn plays a cattle rancher named Clay Hardin in this technicolor Western from 1945. While catching the eye of a local dancer, Hardin takes on ruthless Texan rustlers. The film's Oscar-nominated song "Some Sunday Morning" was later covered by Frank Sinatra.

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Clue #18

- Clue: This hard-drinking friend of Wild Bill Hickok has been played on film by Jean Arthur, Yvonne De Carlo, and Doris Day.
- Category: Western Movies
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Dec. 16, 2016

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Silver Screen Collection // Getty Images

Answer #18: Who is Calamity Jane?

American frontierswoman Martha Jane Cannary—aka Calamity Jane—was reportedly known for her wild exploits and surprising kindness. Much about her life remains shrouded in mystery, but that hasn't stopped Hollywood from offering multiple interpretations. Catherine O'Hara, Jane Alexander, and Ellen Barkin are some additional actors who tackled the role.

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Clue #19

- Clue: This 1961 Western starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden is the only feature directed by Brando.
- Category: The Movies
- Value: $500
- Date episode aired: July 13, 1994

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Pennebaker Productions

Answer #19: What is 'One-Eyed Jacks'?

As talented as Marlon Brando was, one can't help but imagine the alternate directorial possibilities for this technicolor Western. Director Sam Peckinpah and "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling both wrote early drafts of the screenplay, and Stanley Kubrick was originally attached to direct. The finished product is nevertheless considered masterful, blending established genre tropes with emerging styles.

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Clue #20

- Clue: "Come back," calls young Joey to the title hero played by Alan Ladd in this 1953 Western.
- Category: Beloved Films
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Feb. 9, 2009

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Paramount Pictures // Getty Images

Answer #20: What is 'Shane'?

Spoiler alert! Young Joey's final words make up part of an iconic ending, with a wounded Shane riding off into the sunset. Considered one of the finest Westerns ever made, the film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. It currently sits at #3 on AFI's 10 Top 10 Westerns.

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Clue #21

- Clue: In this musical Western, Clint Eastwood sings "I Still See Elisa" and "I Talk To The Trees."
- Category: Movie Musicals
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Sept. 22, 2004

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Alan Jay Lerner Productions

Answer #21: What is 'Paint Your Wagon'?

This bloated musical was even more of a fiasco than it sounds—and a money-losing one at that. It's now something of a cultural curiosity, complete with a Season 9 "Simpsons" reference. Clint Eastwood cites the troubled production as one of the main reasons he became a director.

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Clue #22

- Clue: The title Westerner of a 1972 Robert Redford film; in real life, he was said to eat his enemies' livers.
- Category: Reel People
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: April 14, 2005

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Sanford Productions (III)

Answer #22: Who was Jeremiah Johnson?

John "Liver-Eating" Johnson was a real-life mountain man whose purported vengeance was not for the faint of heart (or liver). His violent story was the subject of at least two books, both of which were used as sources for the 1972 film. The movie also provides an early example of the "survival film" sub-genre.

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Clue #23

- Clue: Formerly Frances Smith, she teamed with her husband Roy in film and TV Westerns.
- Category: Famous Women
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Dec. 17, 2001

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Republic Pictures Corporation

Answer #23: Who was Dale Evans?

Evans caught her big break starring opposite John Wayne in the 1943 Western "In Old Oklahoma." She and Roy Rogers met the following year on the set of "The Cowboy and the Senorita." They married in 1947 and stayed together until Rogers passed away in 1998.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #24

- Clue: Based on an Elmore Leonard Western novel, this 1967 film put Paul in Arizona around 1880.
- Category: Newman's Own "H" Films
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Oct. 24, 2002

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Hombre Productions

Answer #24: What is 'Hombre'?

Before he was a popular crime novelist, Elmore Leonard wrote primarily within the Western genre. This particular story is about an Apache-raised white man who puts his survival skills to use during a stagecoach robbery. Newman starred in "Cool Hand Luke" that same year.

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Clue #25

- Clue: "Rio Bravo," a Howard Hawks Western starring this tough guy as sheriff John T. Chance.
- Category: 2014 Additions to the National Film Registry
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: April 16, 2015

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Armada Productions

Answer #25: Who was John Wayne?

Dismayed by Gary Cooper's vulnerable performance in "High Noon," director Howard Hawks churned out this chest-thumping counterpunch. Who better to star than macho icon and brother-in-spite John Wayne? The film endures as a genre classic and currently holds a critic score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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