One of the things that stood out in a biography I read of John Wayne was the amount of work that went into learning how to be an effective movie actor. He put in years on those one-reel western features developing the character “John Wayne” - who didn’t just turn up the way “Tax-chick” strolls into a Walmart - and learning the skills to present that character on-screen.
I disagree with the contention that he did only one part. Yes, there was only one face and voice, but he showed an interesting variety of personalities.
Yes, he worked in all those early horse operas - where he impressed the great actress Louise Brooks (down on her luck and appearing in low-budget westerns) as a handsome and charismatic figure. That’s where he learned hard work and ambition to improve.
I suppose it was when he met up with his great mentor, John Ford, that his magical persona came to the fore. Look at the amazing first close up of Wayne in “Stagecoach”!
He played an amazing variety of characters - from the cruel cattle driver in “Red River” to the American lost in Ireland in “The Quiet Man” to the racist in “The Searchers” to the bastion of American values in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” All capped off by his satirical and heartwarming turn in “True Grit.” Great actor, great man.