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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Having been shot in 3-D, expect a lot of guns to be pointed at you and sometimes shot, fire coming at the camera, and even rock formations in Lone Pine to appear to have shelves. Outside of this minor distraction, the story is a good one concerning the aftermath of Quantrill's Raiders involving one of his spies, Jeff Travis (Randy Scott), who is determined to run away from his past and begin a new life. Following a fracas on a riverboat, he ends up in Prescott, Arizona, just as the capital of the territory is being moved to Phoenix because of the lack of law and order in the town. Somewhat of a mentor to him as well as lover is the soiled dove Josie Sullivan, played knowingly by Claire Trevor. He rides into Prescott loaded for bear, hence the title "The Stranger Wore a Gun." That he can't shake his past even in an out of the way western hamlet becomes obvious when both Josie and Jules Mourret (George Macready), another ghost from yesterday, turn up there. It's not quite clear where the stranger is heading until a close pal is murdered by Jules' henchmen. To muddy the water a damsel in distress appears, pretty Shelby Conroy (Joan Weldon), who seems shy and innocent. The stranger begins falling in love with her to the displeasure of Josie. Newcomer Jules is holding a Mexican gang at bay led by the colorful Degas (Alfonso Bedoya). The stranger begins playing one gang against the other to almost be gunned down in the crossfire.
Two of Jules' henchmen would go on to win Academy Awards a few years later, Lee Marvin as Dan Kurth and Ernest Borgnine as Bull Slager. Borgnine wears one of the loudest cowboy outfits ever, including a green shirt. He looks like a dude from the east. This doesn't stop him from being the sadistic bully he usually played in those days. Marvin too is his usual twisted demented character fans loved to hate. To see these two in action is worth the price of admission.
Postscript: Look for Tap Canutt, son of famous stunt man Yakima Canutt, in a bit part. He was also one of the stunt men for the film.
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