28 user 13 critic

Gunman's Walk (1958)

Approved | | Western | July 1958 (USA)
A powerful rancher always protects his wild adult son by paying for damages and bribing witnesses, until his crimes become too serious to rectify.



(screenplay) (as Frank Nugent), (story)
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Complete credited cast:
Lee Hackett
Ed Hackett
Clee Chouard
Davy Hackett
Deputy Sheriff Will Motely
Sheriff Harry Brill
Purcell Avery
Jensen Sieverts
Paul Birch ...
Bob Selkirk
Michael Granger ...


Widower Lee Hackett (Van Heflin), a cattle rancher who is a product of the old west, tries to bring up his two sons, Ed (Tab Hunter)and Davy (James Darren), in his image, but Ed is wild and unruly. The two brothers are both attracted to Clee Chourard ('Kathryn Grant(I)') but she prefers Davy. Ed's efforts to outshine his father and brother and everyone else leads him into a career of a gunfighter, and a confrontation with his father. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlinl.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With the lynch-mob at his heels...will his own father shoot him down? (original poster) See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

July 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Slicks  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though in most respects a forgettable movie, Gunman's Walk is notable for being one of the few films in which the blond, blue eyed, square jawed Tab Hunter was cast as a brooding, violent and generally unlikable character. See more »


When Lee Hackett leaves town, chasing after his jailbreak son, Ed, he is riding a "right-maned" horse. When he catches up with Ed, he is on a "left-maned" (different) horse. See more »


Lee Hackett: Times don't change in this country where you breed a man soft. Without any spirit, a man's like a horse: if he don't buck the first time you put a saddle on him he ain't worth having - you know that!
See more »


Featured in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) See more »


I'm A Runaway
by Fred Karger & Richard Quine
Sung by Tab Hunter (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Van Heflin's powerful performance
31 July 2003 | by (U.S.) – See all my reviews

Unlike sandcrab's bitter politically-correct review below, I happen to put this one on my A list for 50s westerns.

Van Heflin plays a hard cattle rancher who wants the best for his two boys. One (Tab Hunter) is wild, spoiled and bitter about following in his father's shadow, the other (James Darren) is soft, gentle, not prone to gunplay like his older brother is. Heflin is very effective at playing the overindulgent father, blind to the realities that both boys are dealing with.

The conflict begins when Hunter and a half-breed Sioux (Bert Convy) that his father has hired, race after a prized white stallion that they've been trying to catch for some time now. Hunter runs his horse into the Indian, forcing him off a cliff into an arroyo, plunging to his death below. Two other Indians witness this and will later testify against Hunter at his trial.

At the trial, a drifting horse trader (Ray Teal) testifies in favor of Hunter for a price of 10 mustangs and the white stallion. Heflin catches on to Teal's game and agrees to it in order to protect his son, but warns Teal to get out of town and don't come back or else. In the meantime, Darren has fallen in love with the dead Indian's sister (Kathryn Grant) which also further complicates things between himself and his father.

As Hunter sees Teal riding the herd including the white stallion through town, he goes down and confronts Teal and demands the white stallion back. When he refuses, he draws on Teal and shoots him off his horse, severely wounding him. Hunter is placed in jail but once again daddy Heflin covers up for him by offering Teal a bribe he can't refuse.

But it all doesn't matter because Hunter breaks out of jail, killing the unarmed deputy (Mickey Shaughnessy) in the process, and forcing the town to form a posse to go after him. Even Heflin can't save his boy at this point, but he knows where he's headed and he gets there before the posse does, thereby provoking a showdown between father and son.

With taught direction by Phil Karlson, an excellent script and tight story by Frank Nugent & Ric Hardman along with a powerful performance by Van Heflin, this one deserves to be in any western film buff's collection. I recommend it wholeheartedly. All I hope is that it will be released on DVD, someday.

8 out of 10

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Unerrated Gem In My Opinion. DavidLanceRoten
This should be released in Cinemascope laurmartin
On TCM laurmartin
Phil Karlson DVD Box Set? AngloSamurai
I have the VHS laurmartin
Re: the Phil Karlson western, GUNMAN'S WALK jacegaffney
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