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A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer.

Forty year old spinster Mattie Ross tells the story of when she was fourteen in the late nineteenth century, living in Yell County, Arkansas. Headstrong, willful, streetwise and stubborn, she felt she was best equipped between her mother and her younger brother to lead the charge to avenge the murder of her father, Frank Ross, by hired hand Tom Chaney while the two were in Fort Smith, Arkansas to run errands, the murder occurring when Tom was drunk. She learned that Tom most likely joined Lucky Ned Pepper's gang, had probably headed into the Choctaw Nation's territory, and that no one was after Tom for the murder. Believing she needed the assistance of a US marshal to carry out her mission, she decided, from the three suggested to her by the Fort Smith sheriff, to choose eye-patch adorned Rueben "Rooster" Cogburn, the most ruthless of the bunch, he being a man who generally shot to kill first before asking questions - in other words, a man with true grit. She had certain regrets in choosing Rooster if only because of his frequent take to drink. Despite Rooster's want to kill Lucky Ned, convincing him to take the job and to take her along - she insisting to ensure she got her money's worth - was more difficult than she had hoped. Another problem in Mattie getting what she believed was true justice was a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf, who was also after Tom, but for the murder of a Texas senator. If LeBoeuf got to Tom first, LeBoeuf would take him back to Texas to stand trial for that murder, instead of Tom paying for the murder of her father.


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