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Having been a spy for Quantrill's raiders during the Civil War, Jeff Travis thinking himself a wanted man, flees to Prescott Arizona where he runs into Jules Mourret who knows of his past. He takes a job on the stage line that Mourret is trying to steal gold from. When Mourret's men kill a friend of his he sets out to get Mourret and his men. When his plan to have another gang get Mourret fails, he has to go after them himself. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
I have a feeling that a lot of The Stranger Wore a Gun was left on the cutting room floor and if someone's ever interested in a director's cut it might explain some of the holes in this story.
The film opens in the middle of raid on Lawrence, Kansas by William Quantrill. Disgusted by all the killing, Randolph Scott quits the outfit, but can't outrun his reputation. Going further and further west Scott gets himself involved with another ex-Quantrill man, George MacReady who's looking to set himself up in Arizona as another version of Quantrill.
This is the last of four films Scott made with George MacReady, not counting their joint appearance in Follow the Boys. The first one they did together, Coroner Creek, is a classic among westerns. Sad to say the quality diminished as the two worked together until this one.
I couldn't follow the story nor could see what Scott's motivations were for doing what he did. It might be a case of bad editing or maybe it wasn't that good to begin with. I think it's one of the weaker Randolph Scott westerns.
Claire Trevor is yet again a saloon girl with a heart of gold and a yen for Randolph Scott and her rival is Joan Weldon, stage line owner. Doing almost a dress rehearsal for the parts they did in Bad Day at Black Rock are future Oscar winners Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin as a pair of MacReady gang members.
I will say if you can sit and sift through the plot you will not be disappointed in the shootout between Scott and MacReady inside a burning saloon. Would that the rest of the film was as good.
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