Gunsmoke, a movie starring Audie Murphy, VHS format
Four out of five stars
This is very much an old style western of the fifties. The movie opens with hired gun Reb Kittridge (Audie Murphy) and his gunman friend eluding a posse. Once the posse is gone, the two men part ways. Kittridge moves on to meet Matt Telford, a brutal local man that is determined to own all the cattle ranches in the area. Telford wants to hire Kittridge to kill the last holdout rancher, but he is turned down. In an unusual twist, Kittridge ends up owning the ranch and must drive the cattle to a railhead in order to pay off a mortgage on the ranch. That mortgage is owned by Telford, so he can acquire the ranch by preventing the cattle from being driven to the railhead.
As westerns go, there is not a lot of gunplay, the daughter of the rancher is a single woman that is currently considered the girlfriend of the foreman of the ranch. There is a lot of interaction between the characters, Kittridge demonstrates that he is a man of integrity, even though his profession is that of a hired gun.
The action involves cattle, an independent female, a gunman reluctant to kill, an obvious budding romance and a standard greedy man trying to carry out one additional land grab. By modern standards, there is very little violence, there is one scene where the rancher’s daughter is rather scantily dressed and that seems out of place for the fifties.
If you are a fan of the old western movies, you will no doubt like this one. Audie Murphy was generally passable as an actor, perhaps his best role was when he played himself and hid the personal issues he had over his experiences in World War II. One of the most decorated soldiers in the U. S. military in World War II, Murphy starred in 40 movies while suffering from a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder that led him to an addiction to sleeping pills. He took them to keep the nightmares and flashbacks away.