George Washington McLintock (John Wayne) has a saddlebag full of trouble. The owner of the largest ranch in the territory, which also includes a mine and a lumber mill that he built up himself, should be a happy, fulfilled man, but he isn't. His wife, Katherine (Maureen O'Hara), walked out on him two years ago without a word of explanation and has been living back east and running in very fancy circles. He's getting older, a fact of which he's constantly reminded as friends around him decline in health. He's being challenged by their sons, eager to make their mark on the territory, and by the homesteaders who are pouring in with the support of the government, hoping to farm on land that's just barely adequate for cattle to graze on; he's got government officials underfoot, including an inept Indian agent (Strother Martin) and a corrupt land agent (Gordon Jones); the thick-headed, longwinded territorial governor, the honorable Cuthbert H. Humphrey (Robert Lowery), and the government back east are trying to push the Indians -- whose chiefs are some of McLintock's oldest enemies and his best and most honored friends -- by shipping them off to a reservation, where they'll be cared for like old women; and to top it all off, Katherine is coming back to secure a divorce and take custody of their 17-year-old daughter, Rebecca (Stefanie Powers), who's been at school back east and no longer likes anything to do with the West, any more than her mother does. All of that -- plus the presence of a young hired hand (Patrick Wayne) who's interested romantically in McLintock's daughter -- is the setup for a sprawling comedy Western with serious overtones, part battle-of-the-sexes and part political tract.
McLintock! was made mostly to keep John Wayne's production company solvent in the wake of the losses incurred from the production of The Alamo. Wayne needed a film that could be made quickly and have mass appeal, and he got more than he bargained for in James Edward Grant's screenplay, which owed a little to both The Taming of the Shrew and The Quiet Man. Shot in the spring of 1963 and premiered in late November of that year, McLintock! proved to be one of the star's most popular and successful films of the '60s. It was a prized possession of the Wayne estate and was held unavailable for all of the '80s and beyond until they missed the copyright renewal in 1991 -- after that, it emerged in numerous substandard videocassette and DVD editions. There was an authorized VHS edition from MPI in the early '90s, and there were legitimate showings on WTBS, but until 2005 there was no decent quality DVD version. Late that year, Paramount Home Video, working under license from the Wayne estate, released a beautiful letterboxed DVD edition loaded up with extras.