Agreed, and it set the course for Wayne for probably 20+ years. He did better playing older than he really was up until he was that old. (Uh, yeah. I'll just go with that.)She wore a yellow ribbon - John Ford 
Probably [one of] John Wayne's finest film. And John ford's direction is beautiful. Between Ford and Winton C. Hoch as Cinematographer, the whole thing flows and looks like a series of animated Remmington paintings.
Wayne had a weird career early on, initially playing lead in a big-budget Western that flopped, then relegated to B-movies (and that's being kind to many of them), then made a star by a big-budget Western (Stagecoach) and maybe fading just a bit before Ford used him again after WWII and the Sands of Iwo Jima got him an Oscar nomination. From then on, probably the most consistently bankable star in the movie business until his death.