In many regards, Destry Rides Again is a boilerplate oater: a new sheriff in town goes up against the crook who runs the place. Not terribly original. But the film is hugely enjoyable for one reason: James Stewart in the title role.
Cecil B. DeMille didn’t do anything halfway. Consider the hoopla orchestrated for the premiere of his 1939 film Union Pacific, a big Western about the race to complete the first trans-continental railroad.
You don’t watch the Tyrone Power/Henry Fonda version of Jesse James for an accurate history lesson. Back in 1939, though, audiences were all about a romantic Jesse James, and this Henry King-directed Western delivered.