No Name on the Bullet, a movie starring Audie Murphy, VHS version
Five out of five stars
Somewhat typecast as the principled hero good with a gun, in this movie Audie Murphy plays a hired killer named John Gant. An expert using a gun, Gant’s tactic is to goad his victim into drawing a gun so that the killing will be in self-defense. Therefore, even though he has killed many times, Gant is not wanted for any reason.
When Gant rides into the town of Lordsburg and identifies himself, speculation as to his intended victim runs rampant among the residents. Many of them have a reason to believe that they have an enemy that wants them dead, so the level of paranoia soars. Gant himself takes it all in stride, considering it part of his unusual job.
Murphy plays it all well, demonstrating little emotion, even when a mob arrives that is bent on either killing him or forcing him to leave town. His only deviation from this is his unusual friendship with the town doctor/veterinarian. His personality is summed up well when he shoots a gun out of the hand of the local sheriff. When asked why he didn’t kill the sheriff, his reply was a deadpan, “Because I wasn’t paid to.”
A psychological thriller wrapped in the cloak of a western, this is one of Murphy’s better performances, demonstrating that he can play more than just the principled hero.