True Grit Trail Launch Event
Dardanelle is the beginning of the True Grit Trail. If you don't think so, just ask Tom Shay, Marshal of the True Grit Trail Posse.
On March 25, 2022, Shay wrangled state and local political leaders, tourism and fundraising experts, beer-making monks, and the brother of True Grit author Charles Portis for a standing-room only celebration to launch the first True Grit Trail exhibit of many more to come.
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The event was a great success and our profound thanks go to Wendy Wells, Branch Manager of the Arkansas River Valley Library, Dardanelle, her hard-working staff and the talented volunteers who provided the delicious food and drinks.
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Future exhibits will be announced on this page, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile here are some scenes from the first event, courtesy of the Fort Smith Museum of History.
Jonathan Portis, brother of True Grit author, Charles Portis shares memories of his famous brother and his family while True Grit Trail posse members Bob Gray and Tom Shay look on.
Jonathan Portis brought many of his brother Charles' keepsakes, including letters from the Coens and John Wayne, early drafts of True Grit, and over 19 foreign language editions.
Carolyn Joyce, "Miss Laura" of Fort Smith tourism fame tells the crowd of her plans to bring tourists to Dardanelle and other points of interest along the True Grit Trail.
Judge Jim Spears is a tireless supporter and fundraiser for Fort Smith tourism. His projects include seven statues lining Fort Smith streets and the $38.7 million U.S. Marshals Museum.
Makers of True Grit ale tell Stacey Daughtrey, Executive Director of the Dardanelle Chamber of Commerce, about Country Monks Brewery at the Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas.
Another piece of Portis memorabilia is an signed picture of Jeff Bridges on the set of the 2010 movie produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.
A three-dimensional part of the exhibit, Mattie Ross, stands watch and is poised for action.
"A Most Anticipated Premiere" by local artist Doyle Wayne Young is nestled among movie poster and a delicious buffet prepared by volunteers for the Dardanelle Library.
"Miss Laura," Carolyn Joyce, Carolyn Speir, Executive Director of the Fort Smith Museum of History and Calvin Evans , Visitor Experience at FSMH, flank special guest, Jonathan Portis.