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.
After serving a five year prison sentence for allowing his men to destroy a town in a drunken spree, a trail boss is hired by the same town's leading citizen to drive their cattle to Fort ... See full summary »
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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Who saw Alfred Werker 's two remarkable westerns "The Last Posse" and Three Hours to Kill" will not be deceived by "At Gunpoint", which basically has the same story as High Noon, but in a totally different style. And the difference in style is huge; High Noon used the myth of the west, from the cinematography to the hero and the ballad, everything was keyed to what we would expect in a standard western, but this time done better. Werker, on the opposite, uses a realistic style, his hero is a shopkeeper who just wants to live a decent life. He is no Wiil Kane. By showing typical town people, their fears, and their decisions when faced by a crisis, Werker manages to make a good western, without the clichés of the fifties. But he throws down the drain the beauty of the myth of the West. We can adapt John Ford's theory and say "When the legend is bigger than the truth, film the legend" and wonder if Werker would have followed he would not have improved the film. But he also might have ruined it.. You will enjoy At Gunpoint as long as you don't compare it to High Noon.
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