The peace-loving owner of a general store, who became a town hero when he luckily killed the leader of a gang of bank robbers, is deserted by the townspeople who fear the threatened return of the vengeful bandits.
The Dennis gang wants to rob the bank of the sleepy peaceful town of Plainview, Texas. Small town banks like this one have less money than large city banks but they're easy prey. Barlow, the gang's contact in town, assures them that Plainview only has an old marshal, Pete MacKay, who shouldn't pose any problem. The gang heads to Plainview. In town, storekeeper Jack Wright runs his store with wife Martha and brother-in-law Wally. Marshal MacKay and doctor Lacey are playing chess inside the store. Jack Wright makes his daily deposit at the bank and then returns to the store. The Dennis gang arrives and robs the bank, killing a teller and the alerted marshal. In the street, storekeeper Jack Wright picks the dead marshal's gun up and shoots fleeing robber Alvin Dennis, from a great distance. Townsman George Henderson finishes Alvin off with a shotgun. The bandit drops the loot and the bank recovers it. The townsfolk proclaim Jack Wright and George Henderson to be heroes. Storekeeper Jack ... Written by
Joel McCrea was originally cast as Jack Wright. See more »
[Bob Dennis is practicing aiming and firing his gun]
You're sure itchin' to use that thing again, ain't ya?
Never hurts to be ready.
You're always ready. Put it away.
You're nervous, huh?
Yeah, well, I wouldn't be if it wasn't for you.
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During the 1950s, 90% of the westerns were based around two plots: the evil baddie who (often secretly) is trying to force everyone off their land as well as the town that's too cowardly to stand up and fight against evil. There have been tons of films based around these themes and "At Gunpoint" uses the second theme--the same one in "High Noon" and many other westerns. Just because things like this never actually occurred in the old west didn't seem to matter!
The film begins with a gang robbing a bank in a sleepy little town. They kill a teller and the town comes out to try and stop the robbery. One of the locals gets off a lucky shot...and kills the gang leader. His hot-headed brother (Skip Homeier) is determined to come back to town and get revenge. The first one they kill is the Sheriff and eventually they're coming back for the guy who fired the lucky shot, Jack Wright (Fred MacMurray). However, one by one, the townsfolk provide to be cowardly weenies and it looks like Jack is just gonna get his head blown off sooner or later!
The film is so, so familiar--so much so that even with some very nice acting and production values, it's just another western. Well done...and at least the ending itself was original.
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