Johnny Guitar (1954) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • After helping a wounded gang member, a strong-willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob.

  • Vienna has built a saloon outside of town, and she hopes to build her own town once the railroad is put through, but the townsfolk want her gone. When four men hold up a stagecoach and kill a man the town officials, led by Emma Small, come to the saloon to grab four of Vienna's friends, the Dancin' Kid and his men. Vienna stands strong against them, and is aided by the presence of an old acquaintance of hers, Johnny Guitar, who is not what he seems.

  • Johnny Guitar rides into town to find his old friend Vienna in a battle with the locals. Vienna has opened a saloon and gambling hall just outside of town and has already arranged with the forthcoming railroad to build a station on the site. Local ranchers John McIvers and Emma Small want nothing to do with the railroad as they see it only as a means of bringing in farmers who'll want to subdivide the land. Vienna is accused of consorting with the Dancing Kid who is accused of robbing the local stagecoach. Emma however is secretly in love with kid and her hatred of Vienna is driven by jealousy, though she will never admit it. Johnny is caught in the middle of it all and only Vienna knows he was once a feared gunslinger, Johnny Logan.

  • Strong-willed and defiant saloon-keeper Vienna has managed to build a plush and welcoming two-story establishment offering food, drink and gambling, that in contrast to being built outside town in windswept, dusty Arizona, is in fact, strategically situated in the course of the imminent and much-awaited railroad that is coming through. But Vienna's presence is unwelcome, not only because she allows the notorious "Dancing Kid" and his gang to often frequent in her saloon, she also protects them, fanning an old rivalry between her and her arch-enemy Emma Small, an embittered and greedy local woman still in love with the Kid. As the tension gradually builds up, Vienna's long-lost lover for five years, Johnny Guitar, rides into town just when an angry posse of locals under Emma's lead want to lynch the Kid and his men, ignoring though the fact that Johnny has a well-hidden history of his own.


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