19 user 12 critic

Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

M | | Western | April 1969 (Austria)
A Texas town's council fires the town's old-fashioned marshal who refuses to resign, thus leading to violence from both sides.


(as Allen Smithee), (as Allen Smithee)


(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marshal Frank Patch
Claire Quintana
Lester Locke
Edward Rosenbloom
Andrew Oxley
Laurie Mills
Ivan Stanek
Mayor Chester Sayre
Doc Adams
Lou Trinidad
Hilda Jorgenson
Dan Joslin
Arch Brandt
Luke Mills (as James Lydon)
Mary Elizabeth


In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in self-defense, the town leaders decide it's time for a change. They ask for Patch's resignation, but he refuses on the basis that the town on hiring him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it. Afraid for the town's future and even more afraid of the fact that Marshal Patch knows all the town's dark secrets, the city fathers decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the unwanted lawman. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Marshall Patch... he lived by the law of the gun...




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

April 1969 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Patch  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were considered for the lead role. See more »


Near the end of the film you can see the electrical wires running (presumably buried for most of their length under the differently-coloured soil) to a man's body as he is 'shot'; the last yard or so of wire -which is presumably for the gunshot SFX- is clearly visible running towards the man's ankles. See more »


Lou Trinidad: Civilization is a wonderful thing, ain't it, Doc?
Doc Adams: If they ever got it started it might work.
See more »


Featured in Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) See more »


Lyrics Carol Hall
Music Oliver Nelson
Sung by Lena Horne
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User Reviews

a unsung western
14 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Western that shows how the "West growed itself up and got itself civilized".Richard Widmark gives what is probably his last great performance as a Sheriff whose way a doing things don't sit right with the "powers-that-be" personified by town merchant Carrol O Conner.This movie ,like Invitaion to a Gunfighter made some years before it reveals just how gutless and desperate the power-brokers are when there's no one to do their bidding.The film still holds up (even with the much mentioned two directors)though it has that "back-lot"look to most of it.John Saxon has a brief but memorable piece of work in this must see film for western fans or good movie fans.

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