The journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Waco Johnny Dean
Stephen McNally ...
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High Spade
Charles Drake ...
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John Alexander ...
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James Millican ...
Abner Biberman ...
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Doan (as Anthony Curtis)
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Storyline

In a marksmanship contest, Lin McAdam wins a prized Winchester rifle, which is immediately stolen by the runner-up, Dutch Henry Brown. This "story of a rifle" then follows McAdams' pursuit, and the rifle as it changes hands, until a final showdown and shoot-out on a rocky mountain precipice. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gun That Won The West!

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Montana Winchester  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shooting competition takes place on July 4, 1876 as the news of Custer's Last Stand in June is just becoming known across the west. See more »

Goofs

When Sgt. Wilkes welcomes Lola, his neck cloth repeatedly changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Young Bull: All white men are thieves. In peace, they steal our land; in war, they steal our women. And you are a white man!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue states: This is a story of the Winchester Rifle Model 1873 "The gun that won the West" To cowman, outlaw, peace officer or soldier, the Winchester '73 was a treasured possession. An Indian would sell his soul to own one... See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A solid first outing from Mann & Stewart
13 September 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Anthony Mann's "Winchester '73" was the first of several westerns that he and James Stewart did together in the 1950's. It is routinely considered one of the best of the lot, if not the very best.

The story follows a revenge-seeking gunslinger (James Stewart) who has recently picked up the trail of his quarry (Stephen McNally). The circumstances surrounding their quarrel are not immediately apparent; instead, they are revealed gradually throughout the course of the film. Meanwhile, the gun referred to in the title is the subject of a subplot wherein the rifle initially won by Stewart's character in a marksmanship contest changes hands repeatedly.

The script shows some skill in bringing the fairly simple story to life but the actors deserve much of the credit. James Stewart is stalwart in the leading role, Stephen McNally makes for a menacing villain, Millard Mitchell is ideal in tandem with Stewart, Shelley Winters makes a fine leading lady and Dan Duryea is at his slimy best as the amoral Waco Johnnie Dean.

On the technical front, Mann's direction is sharp throughout and the film boasts some nice cinematography courtesy of Oscar winner William H. Daniels. Overall, I wouldn't necessarily place the film alongside the best efforts of John Ford and Howard Hawks but it certainly holds its own among more varied competition.


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