Lawman (1958–1962)

The Gunman (15 Feb. 1959)

TV Episode   |    |  Western

A reformed gunslinger is in town to meet his fiancé and head west. Troop wants no trouble while he's there from his old friends or enemies. When she doesn't arrive, he starts drinking and listening to those goading him into a showdown.


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27 August 2010 | dougdoepke
Breathing Life into a Stale Premise
Retired gunman Kurt Monroe (Arlen) rides into town to meet his fiancée's expected stage arrival. Meanwhile, he meets up with boisterous old friend Hennesey (Jones) who brags to saloon rowdies about Monroe's gun skills. Question is—can Monroe stay retired and meet his girl before the ornery rowdies egg him and the Marshal (Russell) into a fast-draw contest.

The plot's the familiar one of a gunslinger trying to escape his reputation and go straight. So the challenge for the producers is to breathe life into a stale premise. It's pretty well done. Arlen is sufficiently steely such that a possible showdown with the icy-eyed Troop creates some suspense. However, Jones is almost clownish in overdoing the barroom loud mouth. Ending is okay, except for the very last buckboard scene that robs the story of what would otherwise be a measure of poignancy.

(In passing—note what appears to be a hint of smog in the early street scene when Monroe rides into town. Likely the scene was filmed in Warner Bros' backlot in Burbank, so I guess the bad air quality is not surprising.)

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