|GUNPOINT (director: Earl Bellamy; screenwriters: Mary & Willard Willingham; cinematographer: William Margulies; editor: Russell F. Schoengarth; music: Hans J. Salter; cast: Audie Murphy (Chad Lucas), Joan Staley (Uvalde / Bonnie Mitchell), Morgan Woodward (Drago), Warren Stevens (Nate Harlan), Edgar Buchanan (Bull), Denver Pyle (Cap), Nick Dennis (Nicos), David Macklin (Mark Emerson), Ford Rainey (Tom Emerson), John Hoyt (Mayor), Robert Pine ('Mitch' Mitchell), Roy Barcroft (Doctor), Royal Dano (Ode), Kelly Thordsen (Ab); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gordon Kay; Universal; 1966)|
sequences executed by Audie Murphy."
by Dennis Schwartz
Bellamy ("My Three Sons"/"The Lone
Ranger"/"Tales of Wells Fargo") assuredly directs this
routine Western, that's saddled with a substandard
screenplay by Mary & Willard Willingham
but makes up for that with good action sequences
executed by Audie Murphy and superb location visuals
filmed in lush Technicolor (shot in Utah).
the 1880s, in the lawless Colorado Territory. When
Chad Lucas (Audie Murphy), the laconic hard-nosed
sheriff of the New Mexico territory border town of Lodgepole, Colorado, tries
to prevent a train robbery, he's sabotaged by his
resentful deputy Cap (Denver Pyle), a former
Confederate officer who feels slighted by the sheriff
and feels he should be the sheriff. The train robbers
hang out in town and kill the town's leading citizen,
bank president Tom Emerson (Ford Rainey)
and kidnap the new dance hall singer from Texas,
Uvalde (Joan Staley), when they hear a marshal is
being sent for. The sheriff though suffering from
blurry vision because of a bullet that grazed the back
of his skull courtesy of the deranged Cap, is eager to
retrieve the money and save the town from financial
ruin. The sheriff gets a posse to chase the gang, led
by the ruthless Drago (Morgan Woodward).
Prosperous and arrogant saloon owner Nate Harlan (Warren
Stevens), though an enemy of the sheriff, joins
the posse, outside of town, on the trail, to get back
his singer fiancee Uvalde. Why Nate doesn't take along
his hired guns from the saloon, went pass me. Nate
soon discovers that Chad and Uvalde, born with the
name Bonnie Mitchell, are from the same Texas
hometown. When Uvalde chats in private with Chad, we
learn they were lovers 8 years ago but the romance
ended when Chad never returned from a cattle drive as
promised and Bonnie hooked up with the gambler saloon
keeper when he came to town.
is unaware that Cap can't be trusted, as he joins the
posse. When Apaches attack, the posse fights them off
but afterwards most leave when their ranks are
depleted and they realize how dangerous things can
get. The obsessed Chad treks on, with the few posse
members left, even though he has no jurisdiction in
New Mexico. Soon Uvalde is released by Drago as bait
so the gang can escape from the Apaches, and she is
rescued by the posse with indians chasing her. The few
posse members left must survive a rock slide caused by
the embittered Cap and a horse stampede caused by
Drago. They push on with the determined sheriff
leading the way, and on foot come across a settler's
campsite where three dangerous criminals, wild horse
sellers, led by the imposing brains of the outfit , an
eccentric sinister comical character, Bull (Edgar
Buchanan). The trio connive to help the posse
for a lion's share of the train hold-up loot.
Warning: spoiler in
the next paragraph.
are a few more shootouts and then there are only three
left from the posse. Nate and the sheriff fight over
the girl and the money recovered from the dead Drago.
In the end, it's winner take all and Chad is the
winner, as Bonnie forgives him for ditching her when
she learns the reason why and Chad gets the best of
Nate in a gunfight.
REVIEWED ON 8/14/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ