Will Tenneray and Abe Cross, two aging gunmen decide to fight each other in a bullfight arena. The winner gets the cash, the loser dies. Lamont Johnson's western A Gunfight from 1971 takes death pretty lightly. Of course western movies usually do, but I have a particular problem with this one. Both of these men, Will and Abe are pretty likable guys, and they're both friendly to each other. And Will has a family to protect. So why risk everything with a pointless gunfight, where you know you might lose your life? Money isn't everything you know. And I didn't like the bullfight scenes in this movie. Animals are not meant to die for the entertainment of people. But sure there are some good things in this movie, too. Let's start with the actors. The legendary, now 101 years old Kirk Douglas plays Will. He never fails. And then you have Johnny Cash (1932-2003) as Abe. The man could really act. You also hear his singing in this movie. Jane Alexander is superb as Will's wife Nora. Kirk's late son Eric Douglas is here in his movie debut as the son Bud. Karen Black, who we lost about five years ago, gives an outstanding performance as Jenny Sims. Keith Carradine plays Young Gunfighter. The late great Dana Elcar, who I remember as MacGyver's Peter Thornton, plays Marv. The western view is great as always. When you see the camera move with Johnny Cash in that western town, it's really something. And I liked the what if- part in the end. Abe wins the real battle, but in a slow motion moment with Abe and Nora looking at each other you see a glimpse of how things would have turned out, if Will had won. Not the best western, but also not the worst.
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