The Gunfighter (1950)

84 mins | Western | July 1950

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HISTORY

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collections at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased an original screenplay by William Bowers and William Sellers, entitled The Big Gun , in Apr 1949 for $30,000. A 24 Dec 1948 HR news item announced that Columbia intended to buy the screenplay, but that deal apparently never materialized. Bowers and Andre de Toth were later nominated for a Best Motion Picture Story Academy Award. Exteriors for The Gunfighter were shot around Lone Pine, CA in late Oct 1949, according to studio files. Modern sources state that cinematographer Charles G. Clarke shot the title backgrounds using Gregory Peck's double. A radio version, featuring Gregory Peck, was broadcast on Screen Directors' Playhouse on 7 Jun 1951. A television adaptation of Bowers and Sellers' script, written by Sam Peckinpah, titled End of a Gun , was broadcast on the CBS network's The 20th Century-Fox Hour in Jan 1957. That version was directed by Lewis Allen and starred Richard ... More Less

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collections at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased an original screenplay by William Bowers and William Sellers, entitled The Big Gun , in Apr 1949 for $30,000. A 24 Dec 1948 HR news item announced that Columbia intended to buy the screenplay, but that deal apparently never materialized. Bowers and Andre de Toth were later nominated for a Best Motion Picture Story Academy Award. Exteriors for The Gunfighter were shot around Lone Pine, CA in late Oct 1949, according to studio files. Modern sources state that cinematographer Charles G. Clarke shot the title backgrounds using Gregory Peck's double. A radio version, featuring Gregory Peck, was broadcast on Screen Directors' Playhouse on 7 Jun 1951. A television adaptation of Bowers and Sellers' script, written by Sam Peckinpah, titled End of a Gun , was broadcast on the CBS network's The 20th Century-Fox Hour in Jan 1957. That version was directed by Lewis Allen and starred Richard Conte. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Apr 1950.
---
Daily Variety
26 Apr 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Jun 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 1948.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 49
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Apr 1950.
---
New York Times
24 Jun 50
p. 7.
Variety
26 Apr 50
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Big Gun
Release Date:
July 1950
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 June 1950
Production Date:
12 September--1 November 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 May 1950
Copyright Number:
LP229
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84
Length(in feet):
7,599
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14217
SYNOPSIS

In the 1880s, Jimmie Ringo, a gunfighter reputed to be the fastest in the Southwest, is minding his own business in a saloon when a cocky young man named Eddie, who is showing off in front of his friends, challenges him. Weary of killing, Jimmie tries to avoid the confrontation, but Eddie draws on him and Jimmie is forced to shoot him. Having heard that Eddie had three brothers, Jimmie quickly leaves town. As feared, the brothers trail Jimmie, but he gets the jump on them in the desert, chasing off their horses, then heads for the town of Cayenne. There Jimmie meets Mac, the owner of the Palace Bar, who tips off the local marshal, Mark Strett, that he is in town. Jimmie is delighted to see Mark, an old friend and former outlaw, but is surprised to learn that he is now a lawman. Although Jimmie assures him that he means no trouble, Mark asks him to leave town after he has eaten. Jimmie explains that has come to Cayenne to see his estranged wife, Peggy Walsh, and son Jimmie, Jr., who live nearby. At first, Mark is reluctant to help Jimmie locate Peggy and Jimmie Jr., whose relation to Jimmie is not known to the townspeople. When Jimmie insists on seeing them, however, and tells Mark that the brothers who are after him might cause a lot of bloodshed in the town, Mark agrees to tell Peggy that he is at the saloon. On his way to the school where Peggy teaches, Mark tells his deputy, Charlie, to take Hunt Bromley, Peggy's would-be suitor, into custody. After Mark returns to the saloon and informs Jimmie that ... +


In the 1880s, Jimmie Ringo, a gunfighter reputed to be the fastest in the Southwest, is minding his own business in a saloon when a cocky young man named Eddie, who is showing off in front of his friends, challenges him. Weary of killing, Jimmie tries to avoid the confrontation, but Eddie draws on him and Jimmie is forced to shoot him. Having heard that Eddie had three brothers, Jimmie quickly leaves town. As feared, the brothers trail Jimmie, but he gets the jump on them in the desert, chasing off their horses, then heads for the town of Cayenne. There Jimmie meets Mac, the owner of the Palace Bar, who tips off the local marshal, Mark Strett, that he is in town. Jimmie is delighted to see Mark, an old friend and former outlaw, but is surprised to learn that he is now a lawman. Although Jimmie assures him that he means no trouble, Mark asks him to leave town after he has eaten. Jimmie explains that has come to Cayenne to see his estranged wife, Peggy Walsh, and son Jimmie, Jr., who live nearby. At first, Mark is reluctant to help Jimmie locate Peggy and Jimmie Jr., whose relation to Jimmie is not known to the townspeople. When Jimmie insists on seeing them, however, and tells Mark that the brothers who are after him might cause a lot of bloodshed in the town, Mark agrees to tell Peggy that he is at the saloon. On his way to the school where Peggy teaches, Mark tells his deputy, Charlie, to take Hunt Bromley, Peggy's would-be suitor, into custody. After Mark returns to the saloon and informs Jimmie that Peggy does not want to see him, Jerry Marlowe, a local resident who thinks that Jimmie killed his son, hears that the gunfighter is in the saloon. An armed Marlowe lies in wait for Jimmie, but before he can shoot, his wife knocks the gun off target and Jimmie retreats back into the saloon. As Jimmie is about to leave, he runs into Molly, another old friend, who is working as a singer there. The recently widowed Molly lets slip that Peggy is the local schoolteacher and tells Jimmie about Bromley's interest in Peggy. Later, while Molly tries to persuade Peggy to see Jimmie, Bromley learns that Jimmie is in town and, seeing him as a way to quickly acquire a reputation, goes to the saloon. However Jimmie bluffs him and throws him out. The three brothers, meanwhile, finally reach a ranch on foot, and borrow horses and guns from the owner. Back in Cayenne, Peggy locks Jimmie, Jr. in his room to stop him from seeing Jimmie, then is persuaded by Molly to see Jimmie. After Mark stations Charlie in the saloon with a loaded shotgun to scare off potential troublemakers, Jimmie spots Marlowe's rifle across the street and goes after him. Jimmie captures Marlowe, then after denying that he killed his son, takes him to the marshal's office. As he locks Marlowe up, a group of righteous women comes in to complain to the marshal about Jimmie's presence in the town. Mark, who has been escorting Bromley out of town, then walks in and, much to the women's chagrin, introduces Jimmie. Before Jimmie and Mark return to the saloon, Bromley, who has doubled back into town, overhears Mark arranging to give Jimmie a fresh horse. Sure that Jimmie's presence at his saloon will mean a boost in business, Mac, meanwhile, offers Jimmie a share of his anticipated revenues, but Jimmie tells him to give the money to the schoolteacher, as he has always had a weakness for teachers. Just as Jimmie is about to go, Molly arrives with Peggy. Jimmie asks Peggy to join him in California or the Northwest, but she fears his reputation will follow him and refuses. When he asks her to reconsider his proposition in a year, however, she agrees. Unaware that the brothers are in town, Jimmie then arranges to see his son before he leaves. Jimmie, Jr. doesn't know that the famous gunfighter is his father and asks him to identify the toughest man he ever saw. To Jimmie, Jr.'s surprise, Jimmie names the gunless Mark who later assures Jimmie that he will watch out for Peggy and his son until he returns. The brothers, meanwhile, lie in wait for Jimmie but are taken by surprise by Charlie. Bromley then suddenly appears and shoots Jimmie in the back before he has a chance to draw. As he is dying, Jimmie tells Mark that he wants it known that he drew first so that Bromley will learn what life is like as a gunslinger. After Jimmie dies, Mark takes Bromley into a barn, beats him and tells him that thousands of "cheap squirts" like him will now want to kill the man who killed Jimmie Ringo. Later, a church service is held for Jimmie, and Peggy and Jimmie, Jr. attend as Mrs. Jimmie Ringo and son. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.