“Support Your Local Gunfighter” is a Western comedy film that graced the silver screen in 1971. Directed by Burt Kennedy with a screenplay by James Edward Grant, the movie melds humor with the Western motifs of the frontier era. It features an ensemble cast notable for their chemistry and timing, delivering a blend of wit and slapstick that resonates with the audiences familiar with the genre.
The film stars James Garner as Latigo Smith, a charming con artist who gets entangled in the rivalry between two mining companies in a small Colorado town. Garner’s adept comic delivery drives the narrative, backed by Suzanne Pleshette who portrays Patience Barton, adding depth and charisma to the story. Together, they navigate the unfolding comedy of errors, with Garner’s character being mistaken for a feared gunfighter.
Supporting roles include the talents of Jack Elam, Joan Blondell, and Harry Morgan, among others, each adding their unique flavor to the mix. The chemistry among the cast punctuates each scene with dynamic interactions and classic Western humor. This well-chosen ensemble contributes to “Support Your Local Gunfighter’s” legacy as a film that playfully deconstructs the traditional Western while entertaining its audience.
Let’s take a look at the full cast of Support Your Local Gunfighter.
The production of “Support Your Local Gunfighter” showcased a harmonious collaboration among an experienced creative team and marked its release by United Artists on May 26, 1971.
Crew and Creative Team
Directed by Burt Kennedy and written by James Edward Grant, “Support Your Local Gunfighter” is a Western comedy that leveraged the expertise of its crew to create a unique film experience. The film’s production was spearheaded by producer Bill Finnegan. The visual tone of the movie was set by cinematographer Harry Stradling Jr., who captured the vivid landscapes and action scenes.
The music that added a distinct flavor to the scenes was composed by Allyn Ferguson, whose compositions were integral to building the Western atmosphere. These key figures worked cohesively to bring “Support Your Local Gunfighter” to life, ensuring every technical detail complimented the film’s comedic narrative.
Development and Filming
The development of the film saw James Garner take on the role of Latigo Smith, a character whose charisma was pivotal in driving the story. He starred alongside Suzanne Pleshette, depicting a pair of clever and engaging characters. The script, building upon a humorous take on Western tropes, grounded its story in the frontier-era Colorado, a setting that provided authenticity and a picturesque backdrop for the film’s characters to thrive.
Filming took place in various locations, with Colorado’s natural beauty offering an ideal setting for the film’s time period. “Support Your Local Gunfighter” found its place in the hearts of Western comedy enthusiasts, securing its legacy in the genre with a strategic release by the production company, United Artists. Based on the novel by William B. Gulick, the narrative was carefully adapted to the screen, retaining the humor and charm that characterized the the author’s work.
Plot and Themes
“Support Your Local Gunfighter” is a film that intertwines deception and comedy within the setting of a mining town. It leverages common Western themes, such as gunfights and the pursuit of gold, but with a humorous and spoof-like approach centered around a con artist.
Storyline and Setting
The primary setting of “Support Your Local Gunfighter” is a frontier-era Colorado mining town. The storyline revolves around Latigo Smith, played by James Garner, who is a con artist and gambler. He finds himself in the midst of a power struggle between two mining companies, each vying for control of the town and its gold reserves. They mistake Smith for a notable gunfighter, setting off a series of comedic events as he uses this misconception to his advantage.
“Support Your Local Gunfighter” employs a variety of comedic devices, often through the use of irony and mistaken identity. The main character’s deceptive practices and the actions that ensue contribute to the film’s humor. The mining companies’ attempts to hire Smith to dispatch the other and his consequent manipulations add a layer of comedy that is consistent throughout the movie. Moreover, the film pokes fun at traditional Western tropes, emphasizing its nature as a spoof of classic Westerns.
Cast and Characters
In “Support Your Local Gunfighter,” a host of talented actors bring to life a compelling assortment of characters set within the framework of a humorous western backdrop. The film features James Garner in a leading role, supported by a diverse cast including Suzanne Pleshette and Jack Elam among others. Let’s take a look at the cast of Support Your Local Gunfighter.
- James Garner portrays Latigo Smith, a charming gambler and a master of misdirection
- Suzanne Pleshette plays the role of Patience Barton, a character that adds depth to the story with her engaging personality
- Jack Elam is featured as Jug May, providing a significant contribution to the film’s comedic element
- Marie Windsor takes on the role of Goldie, further enriching the ensemble
- Harry Morgan exemplifies Taylor Barton, whose performance helps ground the film
- Joan Blondell plays Jenny, a character that resonates well with the audience
- John Dehner is cast as Colonel Ames, integral to the film’s narrative arc
- Ellen Corby, Dick Curtis, Ben Cooper, Virginia Capers, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, Roy Glenn, and Chuck Connors each bring their unique flair, supporting the film’s storyline through their varied characters
“Support Your Local Gunfighter,” a film which followed the success of “Support Your Local Sheriff,” had a notable impact on audiences and critics alike. Its reception reveals much about its standing as a 1971 American comic Western.
Box Office Performance
The film opened across the United States to an eager audience, capitalizing on the fame of its predecessor. While specific figures are not available within this context, it is generally agreed that “Support Your Local Gunfighter” performed well at the box office, reflecting the audience’s appreciation for Western comedies of the era.
Critics offered mixed reviews of “Support Your Local Gunfighter.” Turner Classic Movies (TCM) notes the film as a lighthearted and entertaining entry into the Western genre, suggesting it benefited from the charm of James Garner as the lead. Critical analysis typically centers around the comedic elements of the film which, while not groundbreaking, provided a reliable source of amusement. User reviews frequently mirror this sentiment, appreciating the film’s humor and pacing as welcome entertainment, if not a classic in cinematic history.
Legacy and Influence
“The Support Your Local Gunfighter” film has made a distinctive mark in the realm of cinema, with its impact resonating in cultural references and through various forms of media and merchandise related to the film.
The American film “Support Your Local Gunfighter,” released in 1971, carved out its niche in the Western comedy genre, becoming a fond memory for classic Western enthusiasts. While it may not have had the groundbreaking influence of some of its contemporaries, its blend of humor and Old West tropes has left an indelible impression. Fans of the film have often noted its comedic take on Western motifs, and it occasionally finds its way back into conversation through channels like Turner Classic Movies, keeping the legacy within reach for audiences looking to watch and rent classic films.
Media and Merchandise
Over the years, “Support Your Local Gunfighter” has been represented in various forms of media, from home video releases to being broadcast on television networks dedicated to classic films, such as Turner Classic Movies. Merchandise has been relatively modest, typical of Westerns from the era, with items like DVDs and posters available for purchase. These products have allowed the film to maintain a presence in households and helped cement its status as part of a bygone era of Western comedies that still entertain viewers across generations.