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James Garner plays a ladies' man who ends up on the run from a conquest. He has an embarrassing problem that requires a doctor, but that is not immediately disclosed. He and a town barsweep form a plot to impersonate a well known gunfighter so that Garner can pay off his debts and skip town before the soon to come arrival of the real gunfighter. The cast is almost identical to Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and the humor is similar. Typical: "You hit him from behind!" Garner: "Just as hard as I could!" Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
"Support Your Local Sheriff" was a very funny movie, so essentially the same cast and director to make another movie in the same style. "Support Your Local Gunfighter" is funnier without reference at all to "Sheriff", and if "Sheriff" hadn't been so good the flaws in "Gunfighter" wouldn't be so noticeable.
Except for some mild language and extensive (and very funny violence), it's unobjectionable.
Like "Sheriff", "Gunfighter" has James Garner as a western hero playing against the grain. In "Sheriff" he was a capable man "Just passing through on his way to Australia", and who, accepting the position of sheriff to clean up a town, seemed not to comprehend the western conventions the other characters were foisting onto him.
In "Gunfighter", Garner is a west-hating coward who makes a living off women by his good looks. Fleeing the latest of his conquests, who thinks they're about to be married, he stops off in the town of Purgatory just to see a doctor then head on his way. Unfortunately the mayor (Harry Morgan) and his wackaloon daughter (Suzanne Pleshette) think he's "Swifty" Morgan, a gunfighter sent for by a business rival (John Dehner). Garner persuades them the gunfighter really is his newfound sidekick (Jack Elam), takes the money, and prepares to blow town.
Chuck Connors, arriving at the end as the real "Swifty", proves, a decade before airplane, that having serious actors play deadpan in well-written comedies can be very funny indeed.
Don't watch it on the same week-end as "Sheriff". There are no points of continuity between them, and, funny as this movie is, some of "Gunfighter"'s shine will be lost by the unavoidable comparisons with its superior predecessor.
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