Gun Fight On the stagecoach to Laramie, Wayne Santley rescues singer Nora Brown from the advances of gambler Cole Fender. In Laramie, Wayne discovers his brother Brad is an outlaw, but he refuses to join the gang of rustlers and sets up a homestead. He and Nora are married. Later Brad repents and joins his brother, but Brad’s former partner Pawnee organizes an attack on the brothers. Despite the source that seems to think so, this was not an M-G-M production.
Gun Fight doesn’t exactly have great production values. Nor does it have a well known cast. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of these actors in anything else (if I have their roles were inconsequential). It doesn’t boast a great script, or great direction, either. So what does it have?
Well, it’s got a fairly good story (nothing especially original or outstanding, but a good, solid storyline) and a cast that is honestly doing their best to give good performances. It also has a short running time (69 minutes), so it doesn’t drag at any point.
Ultimately, Gun Fight is an anachronism in filmmaking circa 1960 (when it was filmed). It plays out more like a Western from 1941 than 1961 (when it was released). The style of storytelling (the direction, acting, dialogue, and plotting) is a much closer match to what Hollywood was putting out in the early 40’s than in the early 60’s, so it was already outdated when it was released. And yet, there is an earnestness about the movie that makes it hard to completely dislike or dismiss. No one will ever confuse Gun Fight with the great Westerns of the pre-Spaghetti Western era, but it isn’t quite as bad as many people make it out to be.
Gun Fight is mildly diverting and somewhat entertaining for fans of the genre who are looking for something new that they haven’t seen before. It isn’t far removed from the kind of Western that a Poverty Row studio might have made in the 40’s, and maybe that’s part of it’s charm. With the right expectations Gun Fight can deliver an entertaining one hour and nine minutes. With the right expectations…