Kittridge is hired by the villains but turns to defend the rancher Saxon after learning the true situation. Kittridge wins Saxon's ranch with a cut of the cards but Saxon has other reasons for deliberately losing the gamble. Telford and Lake try everything from bushwhacking to setting a wildfire to stop the Saxon/Kittridge herd of cattle from reaching the railhead.Written by
Carol Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At one point, Cora Dufrayne (Telford's girlfriend) is trying to seduce gunslinging anti-hero Reb Kittridge. And, when he mentions having been driven out of Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming, she replies: "You're running out of states." Wyoming, however, did not gain statehood until 1890. While Arizona and New Mexico remained territories until 1912. See more »
[Curly and Reb have a final confrontation]
Then get out of camp!
I'll leave when I'm ready.
You'll leave right now!
I reckon that's a choice I'll make for myself.
The only choice you've got is how you'll go -- either riding on a horse or feet first.
You've been twirling a pretty big rope ever since you came here. Maybe it's time someone took the slack out of your rope.
Anytime you're ready.
See more »
While certainly in the mold of a "B" western, Gunsmoke manages to raise itself above its peer group. Good production values, an above average supporting cast that appeared to enjoy themselves, an OK plot bolstered by some spirited dialog, and a young Murphy showing he was incorrect in his self-assessment of "no talent."
The plot is pretty much by the numbers: Gambler Telford (Donald Randolph) wants Dan Saxon's (Paul Kelly) ranch and sends for gunslinger Reb Kittridge (Murphy) to arrange an early departure for Saxon from this earth. Due to the luck of the draw, or more probably Saxon's card skills, Kittridge ends up owning said ranch but has to get the cattle to market to maintain possession. Taking to the trail with Saxon, now a cowhand, Saxon's daughter Rita (Susan Cabot), her possessive boyfriend / ranch foreman Curly (Jack Kelly), and the rest of Saxon's old crew, Kittridge must beat both the elements and Telford who doesn't give up just because he's had a setback.
This could have been a B caliber movie but it's better than that. The plot is predictable but pretty much everything else is a step up. Veteran screenwriter D.D. Beauchamp's script has more life than usually found in this type of movie. Saxon – "He ain't no killer, Doc." Doc –"Well, if he isn't , he's been taking money under false pretenses all the way from Texas to the Canadian line." Later, when Saxon says he's willing to work for Kittridge in the cattle drive, his daughter pounces on him in an epic fail. Rita – "You mean you're going to work for him?" Saxon – "Well, we gotta eat don't we?" Rita – "I'd rather go hungry." Saxon – "I've tried that too. I wouldn't recommend it."
Paul Kelly adds immeasurably in his role as a rancher who sees parallels in Kittridge with his own early life and wants to provide a bit of course correction into the gunfighter's life. His timing is great and his easy going drawl a great counterpoint for Murphy. His scenes with Chubby Johnson are also great fun. While certainly a lot is filmed on sets, there are some good outdoor scenes and some nifty wagon riding down a hillside. The only quibble I have is with Susan Cabot. Somehow she doesn't have quite the presence of some other not-quite-A- list actresses of that era such as, say, a young Piper Laurie, but I guess that's a personal taste.
All in all, this is a better oater than most B pictures and shows an inexperienced Murphy could perform quite well when given good direction and surrounded with a good cast to play off of. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
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