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ROAD TRIPPIN' Winterset: John Wayne Birthplace & Museum

A wax statue of John Wayne at the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum. (CBS2/FOX28)

He was larger than life, the good guy in the white hat, who fought for America and what was right and portrayed the kind of man every little boy aspired to be while sitting in the dark at the Saturday afternoon movie Western. John Wayne is an iconic film legend and nearly 30 years after his death he remains an incredible source of pride for his hometown of Winterset, Iowa.

It’s where you will find the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, the recipient of the Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Attraction. The small, four room house on the corner brings some visitors to tears as they walk in the footsteps of the person they adore. Family pictures tell the story of his early years and explain how Marion Robert Morrison can thank his dog for finally giving him a name he liked much better – Duke.

In the only John Wayne Museum in the world, film clips and posters remind fans of his incredible big screen career from Stagecoach to The Searchers, The Sons of Katie Elder to Chisum and Hatari to his Oscar Award winning performance as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

But you’ll also see his custom built station wagon, the way he preferred to spend time when he wasn’t on a horse and the Irish cart from one of his most beloved movies, The Quiet Man, with leading lady Maureen O’Hara. Museum Executive Director Brian Downes says it’s really no mystery why thousands of people from all over the world are putting the site on their list of must see destinations.

“I think it’s not hard to make the case that he was the most popular movie star of all time. That’s not to say the best actor, but certainly the most loved and a fellow who was a leading man for 50 years and remains so high on the polls even to this day.” Come along as Matt Hammill takes you Road Trippin’ to the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum in Winterset, Iowa!

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