TOM, you did see that part about the The Searchers being "not bad" right? Sorry but I don't consider it a good performance when the actor plays himself for 115 minutes and then has to act as human being for the last 3 minutes.
"Not bad" is not good enough for this universally acclaimed picture. I do put it in the top three westerns of all time. In addition John Wayne could not be playing himself because he was not born in the 19th century and did not fight is the Civil War. His character is the character of a person who has seen the things he's seen and has the prejudices that he has obtained over his life. He is not the same character that's in The Man Who Shot Liberty Shot Liberty, nor the same as the aging Calvary Captain in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (he was 42 at the time) nor is he even Johnny Ringo from Stagecoach. He and Ford created these characters and Wayne acted them.
When I was a hippie I certainly denigrated John Wayne for his support of the Vietnam War. As a reader of Playboy at the time I recall his racist statements in the magazine. However he is perfectly used by John Ford in a good number of movies and as I said a few great movies and "The Searchers" is one of them.