Winchester '73 ★★★½

Well, that was a damn fine, rootin’ tootin’ cowboy show. No insights, no moral tale, just an honest to goodness white hat versus black hat.

Take a by-the-book Saturday matinee action Western script and throw in a loyal pal, a shifty rival, his nefarious gang, a trigger happy lunatic, an ineffectual bumbler, a pinned down cavalry that includes a young Tony Curtis, a yellow haired beauty in the form of a svelte Shelley Winters, Rock Hudson in full body makeup as Comanche chief ‘Young Bull’, Western Legend Will Gear as Western Legend Wyatt Erp, and top it off with Jimmy Stewart as the hard riding, plain speaking, sharp shooting, Lin McAdams; a man with a score to settle, and you get Winchester 73’.

Of course the McGuffin is to thread the tale around the titular Winchester 73, the shootin’ iron of shootin’ irons. One in a thousand. Only 133 made doncha know. Although McAdams doesn’t seem to have a problem shooting postage stamps off washers tossed in the air .. through the hole .. with any old peacemaker, you know the Winchester 73 is destined for his steady hands.

This ain’t no Bad Day At Black Rock. If you can overlook the Native American stereotyping and racism, so common in the genre, and the fact that it runs afoul of Chekov’s Gun .. or rather Shelley’s Bullet .. you’ll be in for a fun ride.

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