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(Review originally written at 22 January 2010)

This is quite an unusual and unique little western, that is made mostly original due to its story that revolves around an unique and superior Winchester 1873 rifle and all of those who get to poses it at one point or another in the movie.

It's mostly a very entertaining movie to watch but not without still being a real western as well. The movie got done in a typical '40's/'50's style of western genre film-making, so the lovers of the genre should not be turned off by its somewhat unusual main premise.

Because the rifle is actually being the main plot device of the movie, it allows the story to follow multiple characters throughout the movie, who are all connected of course and the story makes full circle in the end. Without that this movie would had been a pretty messy one to watch, since the story often jumps from the one hazardous occasion into the other, with constantly different characters involved. Quite amazing how they even managed to put Wyatt Earp in this all. But it's no criticism really. I liked that the movie and its story were being original and how the movie seemed to move from the one event to the other. It gave the movie a bit of a sense of adventure and entertainment.

It's also a really great looking movie. I liked the settings the movie used and it seems quite amazing that this was actually the director Anthony Mann's first western. Luckily he would go on to direct more westerns later on, which also often would star James Stewart in the main lead.

It was a pretty daring casting choice to pick James Stewart as the main lead. He is one of the softest and most polite looking and acting actors, so casting him as a tough gunslinger seems like a bit of an odd pick. But Stewart is surprisingly convincing as a tough guy and it shows how versatile and really capable as an actor he actually was.

It also has some other surprising actors in the movie, that are not often get connected with this genre. Shelley Winters plays the female lead and also later well known actors Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis appear in some small roles.

A real western with also plenty of action and entertainment to it.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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