RETURN OF THE GUNFIGHTER
(director: James Neilson; screenwriters: story by Burt Kennedy & Robert Buckner/Robert Buckner; cinematographer: Ellsworth Fredericks; editor: Richard Heermance; music: H.J. Salter; cast: Robert Taylor (Ben Wyatt), Chad Everett (Lee Sutton), Ann Martin (Anisa Domingo), Lyle Bettger(Clay Sutton), Barry Atwater (Fred Lomax, editor), Rodolfo Hoyos (Luis Domingo), Mort Mills (Will Parker, marshal), John Crawford (Butch Cassidy), John Davis Chandler (Sundance Kid), Michael Pate (Frank Boone), Read Morgan (Wid Boone), Henry Wills (Sam Boone), Willis Bouchey (Judge Ellis); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Frank and Maurice King; MGM (Warner Home Video); 1967)
“It’s a tired story played by a tired actor.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
James Neilson (“Night Passage”/”Summer Magic”) competently directs this cliched western. It’s based on a story by Burt Kennedy & Robert Buckner. Robert Taylor plays Ben Wyatt, an aging world-weary gunfighter, just released from Yuma prison after serving five years on false murder charges. The gunfighter just wants to be left alone, but before the evening is over must kill a card cheat in a saloon who just won’t let things go and in the dark street receives word from a Mexican rider that his old friend Luis Domingo (Rodolfo Hoyos) needs his help in a matter of life and death. Wyatt travels to New Mexico to help his Mexican friend, but arrives after land baron Clay Sutton (Lyle Bettger) and his gang kill Domingo and his wife to take possession of their land. Their young daughter Anisa (Ann Martin) escapes. While trying to track down Anisa, Ben meets the wounded Lee Sutton ( Chad Everett), and after an initial misunderstanding helps him avenge his gunshot wounds in a gunfight with the Boone family. After the shoot-out they split and Ben locates where Anisa is hiding, and decides to take her back to Lordsburg disguised as a boy to identify the killers. The killer turns out to be Lee’s big brother Clay and his hired gunslingers Butch Cassidy (John Crawford) and the crazed Sundance Kid (John Davis Chandler). Eventually Wyatt finds every authority figure in town is on Clay’s payroll except for the newspaper editor Lomax (Barry Atwater). In predictable fashion the decent Lee turns against his evil brother and Wyatt avenges the killers of Ana’s parents. It’s a tired story played by a tired actor.
REVIEWED ON 9/24/2016 GRADE: C+