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Heaven with a Gun (1969)

G | | Western | 13 June 1969 (USA)
In a frontier town, gunslinger-turned-preacher Jim Killian is caught in the middle of a violent range war between cattlemen and sheep-men.


Lee H. Katzin


Richard Carr

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Ford ... Jim Killian / Pastor Jim
Carolyn Jones ... Madge McCloud
Barbara Hershey ... Leloopa
John Anderson ... Asa Beck
David Carradine ... Coke Beck
J.D. Cannon ... Mace
Noah Beery Jr. ... Garvey
Harry Townes ... Gus Sampson
William Bryant ... Bart Paterson (as Bill Bryant)
Virginia Gregg ... Mrs. Patterson
James Griffith ... Abraham Murdock
Roger Perry ... Ned Hunter
Claude Woolman Claude Woolman ... Gilcher
Ed Bakey Ed Bakey ... Scotty Andrews
Barbara Babcock ... Mrs. Andrews


In the small western town Vinegarroon the conflict between cattle and sheep breeders escalates. When a stranger appears in the town, the ranchers suspect he's a gun man, hired by the sheep breeders. But Jim Killian turns out to be a priest - a tough one however, who soon shall make unscrupulous rancher Esa Beck's life quite harder. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Jim Killian Killed Like an Artist. This is the Story of His Masterpiece See more »




G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 June 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heaven with a Gun See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dalton Trumbo first contributed to this script in the early 1960s but asked for it to be removed from the credits once the blacklist had been lifted. See more »


Jim Killian: Madge, is there a doctor in this town?
Madge McCloud: One of the best
Jim Killian: Fine, alright I'll repeat; I'm you're preacher. I will protect anyone who comes around this church. I'd try to understand that, if I were you
[exchange of gunfire]
Jim Killian: Well, you'd better get a doctor, Madge. And the rest of you, there'll be no killing around this church unless I do the killing. Amen.
See more »


Referenced in Dad Made Dirty Movies (2011) See more »


A Lonley Place
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Johnny Mandel
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User Reviews

Decent Glenn Ford Western around ordinary conflicts between cattle and sheep breeders
25 March 2019 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Lightly watchable Western about confrontation between Sheepmen , cattlemen and homesteaders . This is an ordinary Hollywood Western , it turns out to be a mixture of action , fights , shootouts and struggles between gunslingers and sheepmen . In a Western little cattle-town , a pattern of the other celebrated cow towns of the Old west called Vinegarroon , there emerges problems as the facing off between cattle and sheep breeders escalates . The reason seems to be a troublesome stock : a herd of sheep . There appears a fast-draw stranger who behaves impulsively , he is Glenn Ford as the brave gunslinger/Pastor called Killian who results to be a priest - a two-fisted one however, who soon shall make at whatever means to keep peace and order against the unscrupulous rancher Esa Beck (John Anderson) and his treacherous villain son (David Carradine) . Later on , Jim Killian builds a church , captioning the following : ¨Mission Church of the Good Sheperd , J. Killian Pastor¨ . Meantime , Killian is fighting to stifle the conflicts between Sheepmen , homesteaders and cattlemen who hire a gunfighter (J.D. Cannon) , a former colleague from Yuma Territorial Prison . While , the astonished inhabitants decide to run him out at all costs . Glenn Ford finally cleans up an uncontrollably lawless Western town. ¨He is a new kind of gunfighter! . ¨Jim Killian Killed Like an Artist¨. ¨This is the Story of His Masterpiece¨. ¨Draw fast when you call him the Sheepman¡ ¨ .

This acceptable , meaty Western contains interesting plot , intrigue , thrills , shootouts , range war , bigotry , and results to be quite entertaining . Passable Western balances action , suspense and drama . It's a classical recounting about an ex-gunman/priest, a peace-loving who is really an expert shooter and surrounded by cowards and frightening people . This is a lively , beautifully shot , well paced and hugely agreeable western . The highlights of the film are the climatic showdowns , the surprise at church and , of course, the final confrontation . The traditional story and exciting screenplay was well written by Richard Carr , though clichés run through-out . Dalton Trumbo first contributed to this plot in the early 1960s but asked for it to be removed from the credits once the blacklist had been lifted . The enjoyable tale is enhanced for interesting moments developed among main characters and especially on the relationship between Glenn Ford and Barbara Hershey playing a naive Navajo Indian . Magnificently performed by Glenn Ford as the gunslinger-turned-preacher Jim Killian who is caught in the middle of a violent range war between cattlemen and sheep-men . He is an awesome expert in the art of conjuring sensational acting , here he gives a top-drawing performance in this atypical but thought-provoking western with a lot of reflection , distinguished moments and dramatical attitudes , in addition a multitude of entertaining situations . Top-notch plethora of secondary actors playing vicious , sadistic sociopaths as the heinous gunfighter David Carradine -who hangs cruelly an Indian- , J .D. Cannon as a ruthless pistolero , John Anderson as the evil landowner , as well as other good guys and friendly women as James Griffith as an upright Mormon , Noah Beery Jr. , Carolyn Jones , Harry Townes , Virginia Gregg , Barbara Babcock , Angelique Pettyjohn , among others .

It contains an evocative and atmospheric cinematography by Fred J. Koenekamp . As well as lively and moving musical score by Johnny Mandel , including some catching songs . The motion picture was professionally directed by Lee H Katzin . Filmmaker Lee H. Katzin started directing features in the late 1960s. Turning to made-for-television movies, he directed a lot of episodes of popular TV series as Jim West , The Young Riders , Renegade ,The Yellow Rose , Miami Vice , Mannix , The felony squad , Hondo , The Rat Patrol and several others . He became one of the busiest directors in that genre, churning out a slew of mostly routine fodder, including television rendition from cinematic hits as Dirty mission II and Dirty Dozen III . Every so often, however, one would rise above the rest: Along Came a Spider (1970) is a tense, gritty murder mystery, and a nice Western : The Quest (1976) . His two most famous credits directing in the cinema were, in fact, films where he replaced a previous director - Bernard Girard on "Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice?" and John Sturges on "Le Mans". Rating : 6/10 . Acceptable and passable Western . Well worth watching .

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