Gun Fight

(director: Edward L. Cahn; screenwriters: story by Gerald Drayson Adams/Gerald Drayson Adams/Richard Schayer; cinematographer: Walter Strenge; editor: Robert Carlisle; music: Paul Sawtell/Bert Shefter; cast: James Brown (Wayne Santley), Joan Staley (Nora Blaine), Gregg Palmer (Brad Santley), Ron Soble (Pawnee), Ken Mayer (Joe Emery), Walter Coy (Sheriff), Charles Cooper (Cole Fender), Connie Buck (Coheela), John Damler (Hank), Kate Murtah (Molly); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert E. Kent; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; 1961)

No surprises here.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Edward L. Cahn (“Pier 5, Havana”/”Redhead”/”Dragstrip Girl”)in a workmanlike waydirects this lively low-budget b/w Western set in Wyoming. It’s based on the story by Gerald Drayson Adams, who writes the screenplay withRichard Schayer.

Cavalry sergeant Wayne Santley (James Brown) is on the stage to Laramie with sexy dance hall singer Nora Blaine (Joan Staley) and slimeball gambler Cole Fender (Charles Cooper) thatgets held-up by the Nighthawk gang, who kill the shotgun guards and driver. Wayne doesn’t realize that his brother Brad (Gregg Palmer), whom he hasn’t seen for the last six years, is the leader of the ruthless gang. When Wayne doesn’t re-enlist, he meets Nora in Laramie and tells her his brother wants him to become partners in his ranch.Wayne meets his brother in his hideout and discovers he was the one who robbed the stage, and is not a rancher as he claims. After leaving the hideout, Wayne meets Nora in the dance hall and returns the valuable brooch heirloom stolen from her and then plans to go onto Jackson Hole and become a trapper. Nora chooses to remain in Laramie. Cole overhears their conversation and tells the sheriff (Walter Coy), who wounds in the shoulder the escaping Wayne. Nora nurses Wayne and he brings her to his brother’s lair to recuperate for the night. But one of the outlaws, the mean-spirited half-breed Pawnee (Ron Soble), believes Wayne ratted on his brother to the sheriff, and Wayne decides to sneak away to Jackson Hole with Nora that night. As the gambler, interested in the reward money, leads the sheriff to the hideout, there’s a shootout. The posse wipes out the gang except for Pawnee and Brad, who go onto Jackson Hole trailing Wayne. Pawnee has poisoned Brad’s mind thinking his brother betrayed him.

In the end, the brothers reunite and stand off Pawnee and five Jackson Hole outlaws recruited to steal the valuable furs in Joe Emery’s trading post, with Brad giving up his life to save his brother and pregnant wife.

No surprises here. But it won me over with such lovable tacky dialogue, as one of the brothers saying in all colloquial seriousness: “Bible words don’t fit my lips, anymore.”