Guns of a Stranger (1973) starring Marty Robbins, Chill Wills, Dovie Beams, Steven Tackett, Bill Coontz, Shug Fisher, Tom Hartman directed by Robert Hinkle Movie Review

Guns of a Stranger (1973)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Marty Robbins in Guns of a Stranger (1973)

Guns are Very Familiar

Having been forced to gun down a young gun man looking to kill him Sheriff Matthew Roberts (Marty Robbins) calls it a day and rides off into the wilderness drifting from one place to another. When he stumbles across the Duncan homestead in the middle of nowhere he ends up sticking around to help out as Tom Duncan (Chill Wills - McLintock!) and his grandchildren; Virginia (Dovie Beams) and her brother Danny (Steven Tackett) are having a spot of bother with a crooked banker and his heavies.

By the 70s the western was dying as a genre and the only ones which worked were those which did something very different or featured icons of the genre such as John Wayne and James Stewart. What definitely different work was basically doing the same thing which had been done 30 and 40 years earlier with just a different cast and it is part of the reason why "Guns of a Stranger" fails. Fails may be a strong word but the story of a former lawman wandering and helping a family from crooks was being done way back and to just use that old storyline with no real variation makes it instantly weak. What also adds to this weakness is that the westerns which feature wandering minstrel style characters were also a thing of the past so whilst Marty Robbins certainly can sing it just adds to that dated feel.

But in many ways the biggest problem with "Guns of a Stranger" is that it is lifeless. There is no style to it what so ever with a lot of poor acting where people appear to stare dumbly at the character waiting for their cue. It is laughable but then to be frank so much of it is laughable including the often uninspired and shaky camera work. In the end the only enjoyable thing about "Guns of a Stranger" is to see old timer Chill Wills again but then this is certainly not a classic Chill Wills performance.

What this all boils down to is that "Guns of a Stranger" is poor and is basically an attempt to deliver a western from the 40s but with actors from the 70s and it doesn't work.