In the brand new state of Texas, a scruffy drifter known as Cruze (George Montgomery) is traveling alone when he meets Fairweather (Frank Faylen), a peace-loving gambler. The two decide to ride together to Marlpine, the nearest town.
Arriving in Marlpine, Cruze and Fairweather encounter a cattle rustler named Tray Moran (Neville Brand) who has beef with Fairweather. Moran swears that Fairweather cheated him in a card game, but Cruze defends his new friend, getting himself in a scuffle with Tray and his two brothers, Gad and Hort (Douglas Kennedy and Robert Wilke).
Miraculously, Cruze beats all three Moran brothers, and the town mayor (Fay Roope) is so impressed that he decides to offer Cruze the job of town marshal.
Cruze accepts the offer (somewhat reluctantly), but his troubles with the Morans aren’t over. Tray wants revenge. While Moran and his brothers begin wreaking havoc on the town’s cow herds, Cruze must not only find a way to stop them, but also save himself from their revenge plots and keep Fairweather from involving himself in crooked card games.
Ray Nazarro directs 1954’s The Lone Gun. Starring alongside the cast listed above are Dorothy Malone as the beautiful daughter of one of the ranchers targted by the Moran brothers, as well as Skip Homeier and Douglas Fowley.
The Lone Gun is a decent flick. The entire cast does quite well, with Skip Homeier impressing in his role and the three Moran brothers bringing a realistic, brotherly companionship to their characters. Dorothy Malone’s performance stands out as one of the best.
The only problem here is that the great supporting cast outshines George Montgomery, who seems a bit flat in his leading role of Cruze. The broody sensibility he brought to the character in the film’s opening scenes disappears once he becomes marshal, and as a result his performance gets a little stiff.
I would consider the performances to be the draw for the viewer here, since the story doesn’t give us anything unusual and at times seems too slow-moving. Also on the positive, though, are the action sequences, which bring much-needed jolts excitement to the story are are composed of some fun-to-watch stunt work.
I wouldn’t consider The Lone Gun to be anywhere near an instant favorite, but I liked it well enough aside from the pacing problems. Strong supporting performances make it worth watching.
Did it boost my appreciation of the Western genre? YES – It isn’t a stellar film, but a good watch, and contains none of my major pet peeves!
The score: 3.5/5