'Big Jake' is a 1971 Western starring John Wayne in one of his last movies. Filmed in Durango, Mexico, it is directed by George Sherman, with narration by George Fenneman. Set before World War I, Big Jake is a has been gunfighter of legendary status, now a rancher getting on in years. Separated from his wife, Martha, for ten years and estranged from his extended family, Big Jake meanders over the Western landscape, attended by his pet Collie named Dog. After the family ranch is attacked by a horde of outlaws, and Little Jake (Big Jake's grandson) is kidnapped, Martha alerts Jacob.
This premise leads to an untimely reunion between husband and wife, stirring up old tensions. After Big Jake returns to the family ranch, Martha shares with him her plan to rendezvous with the kidnappers and pay the demanded ransom to free their grandson.
Word reaches Big Jake: the outlaws have been seen in and around Chilicothe Canyon. Texas Rangers pledge their services to Big Jake. Big Jake is reluctant to accept any help, but Martha urges him to do so. Arrangements are made to retrieve Little Jake, and one morning Big Jake rides out on horseback, accompanied by Dog, and a team of Rangers.
The Rangers intend to take the outlaws by surprise, but instead are ambushed. In an explosive old style Western shootout, several casualties are sustained. Big Jake arrives after the action has died down, finding several men dead and James, the head Ranger, wounded.
Later that evening, Fain, the outlaws' leader, rides into Big Jake's camp, posing as a mere messenger. Big Jake also conceals his identity, claiming to be an employee of the McCandles' family. The two men size each other up and agree upon a meeting place. Before leaving, Fain reiterates that Little Jake will be killed if the McCandles do not pay his ransom.
Resolved to rescue his grandson, Big Jake accepts the challenge.