Garner's Gunfighter is in need of Something
Lightning never strikes twice is how the saying goes and it certainly seems appropriate when discussing "Support Your Local Gunfighter" as whilst not a sequel it did see many of those who appeared in "Support Your Local Sheriff!" come together for another comedy western. But where as "Support Your Local Sheriff!" took a cliche western idea and made it work with some clever writing "Support Your Local Gunfighter" fails to give us any clever writing making it disappointing in comparison. That is really the big issue because whilst the returning James Garner, Jack Elam and Harry Morgan amongst others deliver fine comedic performances the storyline and humour which brings it all together is flat.
Having jumped train at the mining town of Purgatory, hustler Latigo (James Garner - Move Over, Darling) looks for a doctor to help with a little personal matter. But with two local business man fighting over the control of the town's mine he finds himself being mistaken for a notorious gunfighter and so with the help of Jug May (Jack Elam - Once Upon a Time in the West) they come up with a plot to con the town out of money so that he can clear his debts and skedaddle before the real gunfighter shows up.
As was the case with "Support Your Local Sheriff!" in "Support Your Local Gunfighter" we get an almost stereotypical western storyline as the basis for the humour. So we get an element of confusion as Latigo is mistaken for a gunfighter and we also get the two rivals in one town fighting over its control and its mine. Add to that a couple of buddies and a romance and you have the basic elements which can be found in various other westerns.
But the problem with "Support Your Local Gunfighter" is not that there is nothing new to the storyline but the actual humour which should tie it altogether. It's not even a case that it starts well and drifts off because quite honestly from the word go as we witness Latigo doing a flit from a lover on a train into a town called Purgatory the level of humour is minimal. Maybe it was a case that after "Support Your Local Sheriff!" they still had some material left and decided to try and make another movie out of it, I don't know but the jokes just don't work that well. Things such as Latigo's slight medical problem, which should really be full of humour is quite boring as is the way he ends up trying to play the businessmen off against each other. And as for the whole series of jokes about him losing money on the roulette wheel well it's so forced that you actually want those scenes to be over.
Ironically the various faces who return such as James Garner, Harry Morgan and Jack Elam do a good job of trying to make the lame jokes work but there are even times when they seem to be wondering why they are doing this movie. The same can be said of Suzanne Pleshette and Joan Blondell who seem at times to be just as frustrated as we are by the weak jokes. It almost gets to the point that you are laughing because the humour borders on the bad and the actors know it.
What this all boils down to is that "Support Your Local Gunfighter" is not a good movie and compared to "Support Your Local Sheriff!" really struggles. It's a case that it feels so tired and dull with not enough clever writing and a lot of weak gags. If it wasn't for the fact that the likes of James Garner, Jack Elam and Harry Morgan deliver full on performances then it would be bordering on the terrible.