True Grit Wiki

Cogburn in the 2010 adaptation.

Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn is played by John Wayne in the 1969 film adaption of True Grit and its sequel Rooster Cogburn, by Warren Oates in the made for TV movie True Grit: A Further Adventure and by Jeff Bridges in the the 2010 version of True Grit.

Cogburn is a bounty hunter and US Marshal, hired by Mattie Ross to hunt down her father's killer Tom Chaney..

Character Biography[]

Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, said to have true grit, was a US Marshall who was hired by Mattie Ross to find her father's killer, Tom Chaney. He has an ex-wife and son. In the remake, his claim of men killed as a US Marshall is 12-15, possibly 23, when testifying in court. In the film he overcomes drunkenness and stubborn pride to bond with Mattie Ross,

He served with the Confederacy in the American Civil War,1861-1865. He apparently rode with William Quantrill and "Bloody" Bill Anderson in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, presumably. Rooster is working with Cole Younger and Frank James's Wild West Show when on August 12th, 1903 he passes away, of some unknown ailment. In the remake his tombstone reveals his birthday as July 15th, 1825.

Rooster favors his Colt Navy "Sixes". He is seen using a Single Action Army revolver, and a Winchester Repeater.


Ex-wife Nola, who left Cogburn before the events of True Grit, to re-marry he ex-husband, a hardware salesman.

"I said, 'Good-bye, Nola! Hope that little nail-sellin' bastard keeps you happy this time'!"