Support Your Local Gunfighter


1h 32m 1971

Brief Synopsis

A con artist poses as a notorious hired gun.

Film Details

Also Known As
Latigo
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Western
Sequel
Release Date
May 1971
Premiere Information
New York opening: 26 May 1971
Production Company
Brigade Productions, Inc.; Cherokee Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Disney Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Disney"s Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Disney's Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Conman Latigo Smith, reluctant to relinquish his independence, sneaks off the train to Denver at the town of Purgatory while his bride-to-be, Goldie, a dance hall madam, is asleep. In Purgatory, owners of two rival mines, Colonel Ames and Taylor Barton, are racing against each other to find the mother lode of gold. When Taylor sees Latigo sneaking off the train, he assumes that he is Swifty Morgan, an infamous gunman he believes Ames has hired to prevent Taylor's miners from working the claim. Taylor's daughter Patience, a gun-toting tomboy, wants to shoot Latigo on sight, but Taylor says he has another plan for preventing the gunman from ruining them. While Taylor and his son Bud search Latigo's hotel room for proof of his identity, Patience shoots at Latigo from the balcony, so Taylor confiscates her rifle. While dodging both Patience's bullets and the mining explosions that rattle the town, Latigo searches for a doctor. Instead, he encounters hard-drinking Jug May, who wants to sell him the last thing he owns, a set of silver spurs, for money to eat. Claiming that money is the least of his worries, Latigo gives Jug five hundred dollars. After tracking down Doc Schultz at a saloon, Latigo offers him five hundred dollars to remove a tattoo on his chest that glorifies Goldie, but Doc says he must "read up" on the subject and tells him to return in a couple days. Outside, Patience tries to run over Latigo with her horse-drawn buggy and Taylor offers him "profitable employment," but Latigo evades them both. At the saloon, Latigo orders sarsaparilla and, when he sees the roulette wheel, bitterly describes to Jug how the house always controls the wheel so that winning is unlikely. Then, as if entranced, Latigo places a $4,600 bet on number 23 and loses. In shock, Latigo explains to Jug that sometimes the need to bet on the wheel "comes over him." Although broke, Latigo again refuses Taylor's job offer before giving him a chance to explain what it is. Upon learning from Jug that a woman, Jenny, runs a saloon, Latigo seeks her out, gives her the silver spurs, which he says were sent from a man he found dying on the prairie who claimed she was his true love. Softened by his romantic story, she takes him in. Later, after a man, thinking Latigo is Swifty, challenges him to a shootout, Latigo knocks him unconscious from behind and breaks the fingers of his gun hand. During a board meeting, Taylor explains to his two directors how he is trying to hire "Swifty" away from Ames, who has already blocked their mine's entrance with local gunmen. At the Ames farmhouse, the colonel's spinster sister Abigail gives Patience a letter to take to Taylor, whom she is secretly courting. Later, Patience poses as a dance hall girl and enters Latigo's hotel room. Brandishing a stick of dynamite, she says she must kill him so that she can go to Miss Hunter's College on the Hudson River for Young Ladies of Good Family. In explanation, she says that if her father's men do not find the mother lode before Ames's men, she will not be able to afford the school. Realizing that she, too, believes he is Swifty, Latigo shows her the inside of his boots, where the bootmaker stamped his name, and then has the maid throw her out. Doc says he can remove the tattoo, but now Latigo has no money with which to pay him. When Taylor and his two directors approach Latigo about working for them, Latigo claims that Jug is really Swifty and that he handles all his business transactions. Latigo then makes a deal for Swifty to remove Ames's gunmen from their mine entrance. By splitting the money and promising that he will not have to shoot, Latigo convinces Jug to impersonate Swifty. That evening, Latigo scares Ames's men away from the mine gate by saying that Swifty is now working for Taylor. After Taylor pays him, Latigo searches for Doc to remove his tattoo but finds him too drunk to operate. Hearing the whir of the roulette wheel, Latigo places $4,600 on number 23 and loses. Afterward, Patience sees Latigo beating his head against a post and sympathizes, claiming she often does so herself. Upon learning that he is originally from the Hudson River Valley where Miss Hunter's College is located, Patience becomes intrigued and they go for a walk. Near the Ames house, they see Ames's men abduct Taylor, who is returning Abigail after a buggy ride, and threaten to kill him. Patience despairs that now her father will never send her to Miss Hunter's College and Latigo notes that "on top of which he'll be dead." Intent on rescuing Taylor, Latigo enters the house and claims that he and Swifty intend to "make sure things are fair." Ames laughs, as if he is sharing a private joke, but releases Taylor. Searching for Latigo, Goldie arrives in town and is recognized by her friend Jenny, and they soon discover that Latigo told each of them the same story about the silver spurs. Angry at Latigo, they inadvertently cause a bar brawl, in which Latigo is knocked unconscious. Patience tries to revive him, but, discovering his tattoo, breaks a chair on his head. That night, people celebrate the re-opening of the Barton mine, while Patience frets to Latigo that his tattoo might be seen while they are married or "on a picnic." Ames, still amused, tells Latigo that he never really hired Swifty and purposely tricked Taylor into thinking he did, but has telegraphed the gunman to inform him that an imposter is using his name. After the dynamite set by Ames blows up Taylor's mine shaft, Ames declares the mine will remain closed until the real Swifty arrives. Fearing Swifty's reprisal, Latigo suggests to Jug that they leave town, but Jug refuses, as he naïvely believes he can outshoot Swifty. Patience begs Latigo to hide from Swifty, so that she is not reduced to marrying someone else if he is killed, but Latigo feels responsible for Jug's predicament and so stays in town. After Swifty challenges Latigo to a gunfight, Latigo meets Swifty on the street astride a mule with sticks of dynamite wrapped around him, hoping that Swifty will not risk shooting the dynamite and blowing himself up as well as the town. However, the gunman is confident of his ability and orders Latigo to draw. Just then, a mining explosion startles Swifty into accidentally shooting himself. The mule bucks and gallops into Jenny's saloon, where Latigo's dynamite explodes, revealing the mother lode, which Taylor is later able to claim. The explosion has also blown off Latigo's tattoo, prompting Patience to exclaim they can now marry and have a picnic. Using money paid by Taylor, Latigo bets on number 23 of the roulette wheel and wins. Later, he and Patience take the train to Denver to marry.

Film Details

Also Known As
Latigo
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Western
Sequel
Release Date
May 1971
Premiere Information
New York opening: 26 May 1971
Production Company
Brigade Productions, Inc.; Cherokee Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Disney Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Disney"s Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Disney's Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States; Newhall--Golden Oak Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

Support Your Local Gunfighter


James Garner capped his years of big-screen stardom with the warm-hearted western satire Support Your Local Sheriff. When that 1968 film scored a hit, he re-teamed with producer-director Burt Kennedy for this rousing 1971 follow-up. Although not a sequel, Support Your Local Gunfighter had the same spirit as its predecessor. Once again, Garner stars as a wild West con man, though this time he's on the run from marriage rather than the law. He hides out in the town of Purgatory, where he makes a fortune pretending to be a notorious gunman - until the real thing decides to show up.

After rising to stardom in the TV western Maverick (1957-60), a comic series reflecting his own offbeat sense of humor, Garner shot to big-screen stardom with such hits as The Great Escape (1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964). By the 1970s, however, his box-office appeal was fading. He would return to television after Support Your Local Gunfighter, first in another western comedy Nichols (1971-72), then as the ultimate small-time private eye in The Rockford Files (1974).

But first he had two dates with western legend Kennedy, who had started his career writing such classic Randolph Scott westerns as Seven Men From Now (1956) and Ride Lonesome (1959). Kennedy moved into directing with such idiosyncratic, small-scale westerns as Mail Order Bride (1964), The Rounders (1965) and Welcome to Hard Times (1967). After his two films with Garner, Kennedy devoted most of his time to television, though he would return to the big-screen as co-author of Clint Eastwood's filmmaking saga White Hunter, Black Heart (1990) and director of the Hulk Hogan adventure comedy Suburban Commando (1991). Kennedy passed away earlier this year.

One of the main attractions in Support Your Local Gunfighter is the supporting cast of comedy veterans and western stalwarts like Dub Taylor, Chuck Connors (of TV's The Rifleman) and Harry Morgan. Before scoring as the wisecracking wife on The Bob Newhart Show, Suzanne Pleshette played the rough-and-tumble cowgirl who dreams of finishing school and the big city.

But the real news in both Support films was character actor Jack Elam, both times as Garner's sidekick. In Support Your Local Gunfighter, he's cast in a similar role to Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965), playing a drunken bumbler with a secret. Originally an accountant, Elam traded his financial services for a small role in his first film, 1949's Trailin' West. With an unusual look (stemming from an eye injury from his childhood), he originally specialized in menacing roles in a variety of genre films, from the quintessential film noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to the epic spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West (1969). His performances in Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter revealed a comic side he would later exploit in such films as The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) and The Cannonball Run (1981), along with the TV series The Texas Wheelers (1974) and Easy Street (1986).

Producer/Director: Burt Kennedy
Screenplay: James Edward Grant
Cinematography: Harry Stradling, Jr.
Art Direction: Phil Barber
Music: Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson
Cast: James Garner (Latigo Smith), Suzanne Pleshette (Patience Barton), Jack Elam (Jug May), Joan Blondell (Jenny), Harry Morgan (Taylor Barton), Marie Windsor (Goldie), Henry Jones (Ez), Chuck Connors (Swifty Morgan), Dub Taylor (Doc Schultz), Kathleen Freeman (Mrs. Perkins), Ellen Corby (Abigail), John Dehner (Colonel Ames), Grady Sutton (storekeeper).
C-93m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller

Support Your Local Gunfighter

Support Your Local Gunfighter

James Garner capped his years of big-screen stardom with the warm-hearted western satire Support Your Local Sheriff. When that 1968 film scored a hit, he re-teamed with producer-director Burt Kennedy for this rousing 1971 follow-up. Although not a sequel, Support Your Local Gunfighter had the same spirit as its predecessor. Once again, Garner stars as a wild West con man, though this time he's on the run from marriage rather than the law. He hides out in the town of Purgatory, where he makes a fortune pretending to be a notorious gunman - until the real thing decides to show up. After rising to stardom in the TV western Maverick (1957-60), a comic series reflecting his own offbeat sense of humor, Garner shot to big-screen stardom with such hits as The Great Escape (1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964). By the 1970s, however, his box-office appeal was fading. He would return to television after Support Your Local Gunfighter, first in another western comedy Nichols (1971-72), then as the ultimate small-time private eye in The Rockford Files (1974). But first he had two dates with western legend Kennedy, who had started his career writing such classic Randolph Scott westerns as Seven Men From Now (1956) and Ride Lonesome (1959). Kennedy moved into directing with such idiosyncratic, small-scale westerns as Mail Order Bride (1964), The Rounders (1965) and Welcome to Hard Times (1967). After his two films with Garner, Kennedy devoted most of his time to television, though he would return to the big-screen as co-author of Clint Eastwood's filmmaking saga White Hunter, Black Heart (1990) and director of the Hulk Hogan adventure comedy Suburban Commando (1991). Kennedy passed away earlier this year. One of the main attractions in Support Your Local Gunfighter is the supporting cast of comedy veterans and western stalwarts like Dub Taylor, Chuck Connors (of TV's The Rifleman) and Harry Morgan. Before scoring as the wisecracking wife on The Bob Newhart Show, Suzanne Pleshette played the rough-and-tumble cowgirl who dreams of finishing school and the big city. But the real news in both Support films was character actor Jack Elam, both times as Garner's sidekick. In Support Your Local Gunfighter, he's cast in a similar role to Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965), playing a drunken bumbler with a secret. Originally an accountant, Elam traded his financial services for a small role in his first film, 1949's Trailin' West. With an unusual look (stemming from an eye injury from his childhood), he originally specialized in menacing roles in a variety of genre films, from the quintessential film noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to the epic spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West (1969). His performances in Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter revealed a comic side he would later exploit in such films as The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) and The Cannonball Run (1981), along with the TV series The Texas Wheelers (1974) and Easy Street (1986). Producer/Director: Burt Kennedy Screenplay: James Edward Grant Cinematography: Harry Stradling, Jr. Art Direction: Phil Barber Music: Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson Cast: James Garner (Latigo Smith), Suzanne Pleshette (Patience Barton), Jack Elam (Jug May), Joan Blondell (Jenny), Harry Morgan (Taylor Barton), Marie Windsor (Goldie), Henry Jones (Ez), Chuck Connors (Swifty Morgan), Dub Taylor (Doc Schultz), Kathleen Freeman (Mrs. Perkins), Ellen Corby (Abigail), John Dehner (Colonel Ames), Grady Sutton (storekeeper). C-93m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Latigo. Opening and closing onscreen cast credits differ slightly in order. At the end of the film, after happily married "Latigo Smith" and "Patience Barton" are shown kissing inside a train, Jack Elam as "Jug May" is shown standing at the back of the moving train's caboose, where he explains that "Colonel Ames" goes broke, "Abigail" and "Taylor Barton" marry, and although Patience never attends Miss Hunter's College, seven of her daughters do. Finally, Elam adds that he becomes a "big star" of Italian Westerns, a reference to his own prominent role in the 1968 Sergio Leone Western, Once Upon a Time in the West.
       According to the Variety review, the film was based on an old script by the late James Edward Grant, who died in 1966. Support Your Local Gunfighter marked the last film of Grant, who began his career as a news reporter in Chicago. An August 1970 Daily Variety article reported that, except for one day at Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, CA, which was owned by Walt Disney Studios, the film was shot entirely on the western street of the Studio City lot of CBS Studio Center, which was also known as Cinema Center Films and formerly, was the Republic Studios lot. The article noted that the "street western" was filmed mostly at night, as that was "one way to avoid smog and a 'canned' studio look." Modern sources add John Daheim, Jim Nolan, Guy Way and Eugene Jackson to the cast.
       According to the Los Angeles Times review, "Elam, ever the crazy-eyed reprobate, threatens to walk off with the entire movie in what is probably his biggest role to date." As noted in several reviews, Support Your Local Gunfighter was produced as a "follow-up" to the 1969 film Support Your Local Sheriff! , which was also directed by Burt Kennedy and starred James Garner, and used many of the same cast and crew members. According to a March 1971 Hollywood Reporter news item, a first draft script was written for a third film, titled Support Your Local Coward, but that project never reached fruition.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1971

Sequel to "Support Your Local Sheriff" (1969) directed by Burt Kennedy.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1971