Well, Pilgrim

If you drive for about 20 minutes from Des Moines in a southwesterly direction, you’ll come to Winterset, Iowa. Winterset is mostly known for three things; its the county seat of Madison County, its beautiful covered bridges (thus forming the setting of Robert James Waller’s “The Bridges of Madison County”), and its the birthplace of Marion Robert Morrison.


He was born in Winterset in 1907 and while at birth his name was Marion Robert Morrison his parents changed his middle name to Michael with the arrival of his younger brother because they wanted to call his sibling Robert. He only lived in Winterset until he was 4 years of age, when his family moved to California for his father’s health.

In movies, he became the quintessential man’s man in western, war and detective movies and his signature phrase was a drawling, “Well, Pilgrim.”

Yes, he may have been born Marion Robert Morrison but you know him as…John Wayne.

I wanted to go down to take pictures of the house, but my co-worker Julia went down before me to take photos of the bridges and stopped at the house during her trip. I’m glad she did because it turns out you can’t take photos inside the house, only of the exterior. I would have felt as if I had wasted my time if I had driven down there and been told I couldn’t take photos of the interior.

So, in lieu of my cancelled trip, here’s Julia’s photo of the outside of the house where John Wayne entered the world.

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