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Showdown at Boot Hill (1958)

Approved | | Western | 1 May 1958 (USA)
A deputy marshal kills a murderer in a town that loved him, and when no one is willing to identify him, he can't collect any reward.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Luke Welsh
Doc Weber
Jill Crane
Fintan Meyler ...
Sally Crane
Paul Maxey ...
Judge Wallen
Thomas Browne Henry ...
Con Maynor (as Thomas B. Henry)
William Stevens ...
Martin Smith ...
Mr. Creavy (as Joseph McGuinn)
George Douglas ...
Charles Maynor
Mike Mason ...
Les Patton (as Michael Mason)
George Pembroke ...
Sheriff Hinkle
Mrs. Bonaventura
Ed Wright ...


Bounty hunter Luke Welsh arrives looking for a wanted man. When that man draws on him he has to kill him. To collect his reward he needs a statement identifying him. But the man was well liked in town and no one will sign such a statement. When he outdraws another man who thought he was faster, some townsmen decide he should be killed and they organize a mob to go after him. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

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Release Date:

1 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shadow of a Gunman  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final movie of Fintan Meyler who worked on television shows before retiring in 1973. See more »

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User Reviews

Charles Bronson and John Carradine
23 March 2014 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

Better known as a film editor over five decades, Gene Fowler Jr. earned himself a decent resume as a cult director, with seven titles over a three year period, none truly outstanding, but all deserving of praise for one reason or another. 1957's "Showdown at Boot Hill" was preceded by his debut, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," and followed by "Gang War" (also with Charles Bronson), "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" (his best known), "Here Come the Jets," "The Rebel Set," and lastly, the mediocre Western "The Oregon Trail" (again with John Carradine). "Boot Hill" is chiefly remembered, if at all, as Bronson's very first starring role in a feature film, quickly followed by Roger Corman's better known "Machine-Gun Kelly," and already at this early stage, finds himself immersed in a role which allows him to be gritty and short on talk. Bronson's Deputy U. S. Marshal Luke Welsh arrives in Mound City with a warrant for the arrest of wanted outlaw Con Maynor (Thomas Browne Henry), guilty of killing three men in other territories. He quickly finds his man dining at the hotel and flirting with waitress Sally (Fintan Meyler), hardly batting an eye when the Marshal makes his presence known, almost bragging about his exploits as he gets ready to leave. Determined to collect the $200 bounty on Maynor's head, Welsh allows the outlaw to draw now or journey to St. Louis to be hanged; the expected result has Con Maynor dead, but the hostile townspeople unwilling to identify the corpse. Forced to stick around to try to collect his hard won bounty, Welsh learns how charitable Maynor was in this territory, and how protective they feel toward him, even acknowledging his murderous ways. Bronson's romance of waitress Sally tends to slow down an already actionless Western, but the top notch script by Louis Vittes, low key but sharp, allows the entire cast to shine (incredibly, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" was the only Fowler title not written by Vittes). Robert Hutton gets second billing as Maynor's number one defender Sloane, praising the dead man for restoring his lost herd of cattle with one he no doubt stole himself, but allowed Sloane two years to pay off. Paul Maxey's part as the de facto judge makes the inquest appear as legal as possible considering everybody lied! Best of all is John Carradine, an old friend of the director's father (all part of the John Barrymore Rat Pack), playing the challenging role of Doc Weber, town barber, who does more shaving and undertaking than he does doctoring. Looking fairly dapper in moustache and beard, Carradine simply lights up the screen, and develops a wonderful rapport with Bronson, working together again in Carradine's very last Western, 1977's "The White Buffalo," again as an undertaker (with Irish accent). Perhaps their best scene together is in the barber shop, Weber informing the Marshal about the dead man's brother arriving at Boot Hill for the funeral, despite the protestations of his customer: "now, I didn't mention any names did I?" He had fine roles in other Westerns of the 50s ("Johnny Guitar," "Thunder Pass," "Stranger on Horseback," "The Kentuckian," "Hidden Guns," and "The Proud Rebel"), but "Showdown at Boot Hill" ranks on top as his best. As for Charles Bronson, this late 1957 production began a brief starring spree, with "Machine-Gun Kelly," "Gang War," and "When Hell Broke Loose," followed by his one TV series lead, MAN WITH A CAMERA. His feature career continued with supporting roles for another decade, but at least his vehicles would grow in stature ("The Magnificent Seven," "Battle of the Bulge," "The Dirty Dozen") before European stardom beckoned with Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West."

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