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Gunsmoke (1953)

Approved | | Romance, Western | March 1953 (USA)
A young gun slinger tries to help a rancher and his daughter, save their land and cattle from an evil, wealthy land owner.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Norman A.Fox)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Reb Kittredge
...
Rita Saxon
...
Dan Saxon
...
Johnny Lake
Mary Castle ...
Cora Dufrayne
...
Curly Mather
...
Professor
Donald Randolph ...
Matt Telford
...
Brazos
...
Doc Farrell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Abner Sneed (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Kittridge is hired by the villains but turns to defend the rancher Saxon after learning the true situation. Kittridge wins Saxon's ranch with a cut of the cards but Saxon has other reasons for deliberately losing the gamble. Telford and Lake try everything from bushwhacking to setting a wildfire to stop the Saxon/Kittridge herd of cattle from reaching the railhead. Written by Carol Johnson <crj1@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hired Gunslinger In A Lawless Land!

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

March 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Man's Country  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the cattle drive, Audie Murphy (Reb) has ridden up ahead, over a ridge, to scout the trail and sees a range fire burning towards the herd. As he races back down the hill to the other riders, his horse slips and almost falls down. He and the horse are able to recover and without missing a beat, Murphy says his lines to the others and the scene goes on. See more »

Quotes

[After Reb's horse is shot, he hitches a ride on a stagecoach with a pretty, but aloof, passenger]
Reb Kittredge: I ran into a little trouble this morning. I had to leave my horse back up the trail.
Rita: If I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, I'd say you still had him with you.
See more »

Soundtracks

Drinks Are On the House
(uncredited)
Music by Milton Rosen
Lyrics by Everett Carter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fun, early Murphy Westerm
27 June 2016 | by (Washington) – See all my reviews

While certainly in the mold of a "B" western, Gunsmoke manages to raise itself above its peer group. Good production values, an above average supporting cast that appeared to enjoy themselves, an OK plot bolstered by some spirited dialog, and a young Murphy showing he was incorrect in his self-assessment of "no talent."

The plot is pretty much by the numbers: Gambler Telford (Donald Randolph) wants Dan Saxon's (Paul Kelly) ranch and sends for gunslinger Reb Kittridge (Murphy) to arrange an early departure for Saxon from this earth. Due to the luck of the draw, or more probably Saxon's card skills, Kittridge ends up owning said ranch but has to get the cattle to market to maintain possession. Taking to the trail with Saxon, now a cowhand, Saxon's daughter Rita (Susan Cabot), her possessive boyfriend / ranch foreman Curly (Jack Kelly), and the rest of Saxon's old crew, Kittridge must beat both the elements and Telford who doesn't give up just because he's had a setback.

This could have been a B caliber movie but it's better than that. The plot is predictable but pretty much everything else is a step up. Veteran screenwriter D.D. Beauchamp's script has more life than usually found in this type of movie. Saxon – "He ain't no killer, Doc." Doc –"Well, if he isn't , he's been taking money under false pretenses all the way from Texas to the Canadian line." Later, when Saxon says he's willing to work for Kittridge in the cattle drive, his daughter pounces on him in an epic fail. Rita – "You mean you're going to work for him?" Saxon – "Well, we gotta eat don't we?" Rita – "I'd rather go hungry." Saxon – "I've tried that too. I wouldn't recommend it."

Paul Kelly adds immeasurably in his role as a rancher who sees parallels in Kittridge with his own early life and wants to provide a bit of course correction into the gunfighter's life. His timing is great and his easy going drawl a great counterpoint for Murphy. His scenes with Chubby Johnson are also great fun. While certainly a lot is filmed on sets, there are some good outdoor scenes and some nifty wagon riding down a hillside. The only quibble I have is with Susan Cabot. Somehow she doesn't have quite the presence of some other not-quite-A- list actresses of that era such as, say, a young Piper Laurie, but I guess that's a personal taste.

All in all, this is a better oater than most B pictures and shows an inexperienced Murphy could perform quite well when given good direction and surrounded with a good cast to play off of. Give it a try, you won't regret it.


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