Riding with John Wayne – The Rudy Robbins Story

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Rudy Robbins wasn’t born in the Cowboy Capital of the World, but he got here as fast as he could. Growing up in Port Arthur, there wasn’t much opportunity to work with cattle, but Rudy always wanted to be a cowboy. He also wanted to sing, and taught himself to play the guitar at age 16. After earning a degree in Business Administration from East Texas Baptist College in 1956, he got the call from Uncle Sam and served a two-year tour in the Army. One of his fellow-soldiers was the son of a movie producer, who convinced Robbins that the best way to live out his cowboy dreams would be to play a cowboy in the movies. Since he had heard of several westerns being filmed in Bandera, Robbins made up his mind: “When I get out of the army, I’m going to move to Bandera.”

Riding with John Wayne

Photo: Wikipedia

He had some second thoughts about his decision when he first arrived in Bandera; he was told that there hadn’t been a movie made there for quite a few years. He got a job as a wrangler at the Dixie Dude Ranch, where he honed his riding skills taking guests on trail rides. His move paid off just a few months later, when John Wayne started looking for extras to work in his film, “The Alamo” (released in 1960).

“Duke personally picked me out” from a casting line-up, Robbins recalled.

In the famous movie filmed near Brackettville, Robbins played one of the Tennesseans who fought (and died) at the Alamo. He was distinguished mostly by a short dialog that was repeated several times during the film: a fellow-Tennessean would review a developing situation and ask Robbins, “Do this mean what I think it do?” Robbins would reply, “It do.” From that time on, John Wayne called Robbins by the nickname “It Do,” and one of Robbins treasured possessions is a souvenir Alamo mug addressed to “It Do” from “Duke.”

Riding with John Wayne
Photo: Cheyenne Autumn (IMDb)

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