Have Shotgun Will Travel
Having been behind bars for 6 years Ben Thompson (Guy Prescott) has a score to settle with Marshal Mark Fletcher (Lane Chandler) and Deputy Marshal Hardin (Sterling Hayden). Whilst he brutally guns down Fletcher he fails to kill Hardin who gets Thompson's shotgun as he runs. Now Hardin is gunning for revenge and hits the trail with a plan to kill Thompson with his own shotgun. On his journey Hardin finds him self accompanied by half breed Abbey (Yvonne De Carlo) and a bounty hunter by the name of Reb Carlton (Zachary Scott) who takes a liking to Abbey leading to increased tensions.
Before watching "Shotgun" I read a comment about it saying it had great use of colour which really set of the scenery. I guess the person who wrote than must have watched a different version of "Shotgun" to the one I did as what I got was a typical looking 1950s western with colours which look faded and unsurprisingly lacking the definition of movies from the time which had big money backing. And it isn't the just washed out colours which highlight the limited budget as the editing also has the feel of just another western made at a time when they were still ten a penny.
The knock on effect of this is that "Shotgun" becomes just another revenge movie where we watch Hardin hit the trail in search of the killer. Of course along the way there are some issues, he kills a man who he knows works for Thompson and ends up with an attractive woman accompanying him but none of this is that original. That in itself is not that much of a surprise when you spot western actor Rory Calhoun's name in amongst the writing credits and the more interesting question is why Calhoun didn't star in the movie himself as the role of Hardin would have been right up his street.
On the subject of Hardin well Sterling Hayden does a nice job of playing him as a smart cookie, wise to the ways of the West. But he also plays him with a ruthless side which is shown nicely in a scene involving an outlaw pegged to the floor with a rattler nearby, one of a few scenes which stand out from the crowd due to the suggested brutality. Aside from Hayden well Yvonne De Carlo is attractive and plays things feisty but not once convinces you that she is a half breed.
What this all boils down to is that "Shotgun" whilst having some stand out scenes of suggested brutality ends up an ordinary 1950s western. The one thing I will say is that it seems like there are various versions with some looking sharper than others when it comes to the colour so if you are going to buy it make sure it is the best looking version.