Sunday, September 25, 2022

Gregory Peck is "The Gunfigher"

The Gunfighter (1950) is an American western drama directed by Henry King and starring Gregory Peck. The cast members include Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Karl Malden, and Jean Parker. The cinematography was by Arthur C. Miller (How Green is My Valley).

Gregory Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, who is famous for being the fastest draw in the West. Because of his renown, he is constantly hounded by younger gunslingers who want to take him on. When Ringo is confronted by a young cowboy named Eddie, he has no choice but to defend himself. When Eddie’s three brothers find out they follow Ringo out of town. Ringo ambushes the brothers, disarms them and drives their horses away. He tells the brothers to walk back to town but they follow him on foot.

Ringo eventually arrives at the town of Cayenne where his wife and son live. He hasn’t seen either of them in eight years. Ringo wants to reunite with his wife (Helen Westcott) and son but Peggy doesn’t see how they could make a life for themselves and their son due to his gunfighter notoriety.

What remains for Ringo? Will he be able to carve a new life for himself or will his gunfighter’s reputation keep him from living a quiet, “normal” life?

Gregory Peck

Henry King (1886 - 1982) was an American actor and director. He was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Director and seven films that he directed were nominated for Best Picture including The Song of Benadette (1943) where he directed Jennifer Jones to a Best Actress Academy Award. While under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox he directed many films starring Tyrone Power and Gregory Peck. Some popular films directed by King include Lloyd's of London (1936), In Old Chicago (1937), Jesse James (1939), Twelve O'Clock High (1949), The Gunfighter (1950), David and Bathsheba (1951), The Sun Also Rises (1957), and The Bravados (1958).

Gregory Peck (1916 – 2002) was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He had three Best Actor nominations early in his career for The Keys to the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and Twelve O’Clock High (1949). He had non-exclusive contracts with David O. Selznick and Twentieth Century-Fox, which gave him great flexibility in the roles he chose to play. Other classic Peck film roles include Roman Holiday (1953), The Big Country (1958), The Guns of Navarone (1961). He finally won a Best Actor Academy Award for his iconic portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

The Gunfighter trivia

  • The script was originally written with John Wayne in mind.
  • The producers hated Peck's period mustache.
  • The western street is the same one used in The Ox-Box Incident (1942).
  • This was supposedly one of Gregory Peck's favorite roles.

To watch the movie on YouTube, clicked the link below.

To join the discussion on October 3, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and link to join the discussion on Zoom.

Discussion questions

  1. Was Peck convincing as an outlaw on the run?
  2. The producers hated Peck's mustache that fit the period and thought it contributed to the film's failure at the box office. Did Peck's mustache work for you or did you agree with the producers at Twentieth Century-Fox?
  3. Do you think Peck's character had a chance at a new life with his wife and son?
  4. Was the ending inevitable? Would you have written a different ending?
  5. Why do you think audiences didn't embrace The Gunfighter in spite of the mostly glowing reviews from the critics? 

Gregory Peck and Helen Westcott


  1. I love this movie - I think it just might be my favorite western. I suppose I can see why audiences didn't embrace the film; it's not exactly Meet Me in St. Louis. It's a shame, though -- it's a first-rate story, with excellent direction and performances.

    1. I know. It's such a well produced movie in my opinion and the acting and writing is very good. I guess like you said, It's not "Meet Me in St. Louis" but seriously!


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