As a precursor to our film project, 12 Western Feature-Length Films in 12 Months, which Running Wild Films and 5J Media will start producing in 2016, director Travis Mills shares his thoughts on films from the genre as he studies Westerns in preparation for our own. Follow the project here on Facebook
This series of short blogs is titled “Western Impressions”.
Gun for a Coward (1957)
The second Fred MacMurray Western I’ve watched in a row. This one is the opposite of Quantez: it starts slow, very muddled and then gets powerful near the end. It’s a family melodrama in a Western setting that finally kicks into gear after puttering along with an excellent gunfight during a stampede. MacMurray, Dean Stockwell and Jeffrey Hunter play brothers. Hunter is the “coward” of the title, under pressure from both his older and younger brother to perform in a “manly” way. The end result is both thrilling and emotionally powerful if only the rest had been tidier, this would be an incredible picture.
Lasting impression: the ending when Hunter is finally challenged to fight with no escape.