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Winchester ’73 (1950, James Stewart, Dan Duryea)

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The first of the six classic westerns that Anthony Mann directed starring James Stewart, this seemingly simple story of revenge becomes a sweeping history of the west. Stewart plays Lin McAdam, searching for Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally), the man who shot his father. By a twist of fate, he arrives in Dodge City where a shooting contest is taking place, the prize the perfect rifle, a Winchester 73. McAdam wins, only for Brown to steal his prize and set off into the desert, pursued by McAdam and his partner High Spade (Millard Mitchell).

The rifle changes hands, with McAdam still on its and Brown’s trail, but each owner seems cursed by ownership, meeting a violent end. Finally, Brown regains possession of the weapon but, in a small town on a dusty street, he and McAdam finally come face to face for a showdown that has a final twist.

Along the way, themes including the settlement of the Wild West, the conflict between the 7th Cavalry and the Native Americans and the fight between good and evil are all played out against a magnificently shot film. Support comes from two outstanding performances, with Shelley Winters as the luminescent widow of a settler who becomes involved with both McAdam and Brown, and Dan Duryea as one of Brown’s sidekicks, who is a study in psychopathic evil.

production details
USA | 92 minutes | 1950

Director: Anthony Mann
Writers: Robert L Richards, Borden Chase

cast
James Stewart as Lin McAdam
Dan Duryea as Waco Johnnie Dean
Charles Drake as Steve Miller
John McIntire as Joe Lamont
Jay C. Flippen as Sergeant Wilkes
Rock Hudson as Young Bull
John Alexander as Jack Riker
Steve Brodie as Wesley
Abner Biberman as Latigo Means
Shelley Winters as Lola Manners
Tony Curtis as Doan
Millard Mitchell as High Spade
Will Geer as Wyatt Earp
James Best as Crater
James Millican as Wheeler
Chet Brandenburg as Townsman (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson as Long Tom (uncredited)
Jimmy Hawkins as Boy at Store Window (uncredited)
John War Eagle as Indian Interpreter (uncredited)
Ray Bennett as Charles Bender (uncredited)
Bud Osborne as Man (uncredited)
Larry Olsen as Boy at Rifle Shoot (uncredited)
Tex Cooper as Shooting Contestant (uncredited)
Stephen McNally as Dutch Henry Brown
Victor Adamson as Townsman (uncredited)
Roy Bucko as Townsman (uncredited)
Victor Cox as Townsman (uncredited)
Jack Kenny as Townsman (uncredited)
Jack Perry as Townsman (uncredited)
Robert Anderson as Basset (uncredited)
Mel Archer as Bartender (uncredited)
Ted Mapes as Bartender (uncredited)
Frank Chase as Cavalryman (uncredited
Edmund Cobb as Target Watcher (uncredited)
Forrest Taylor as Target Clerk (voice) (uncredited)
Frank Conlan as Contest Clerk in Saloon (uncredited)
Steve Darrell as Bat Masterson (uncredited)
John Doucette as Roan Daley (uncredited)
Chick Hannan as Spectator (uncredited)
Bill McKenzie as Boy at Rifle Shoot (uncredited)
Tony Taylor as Boy (uncredited)
Carol Henry as Dudeen (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw as Stationmaster (uncredited)
Gregg Martell as Mossman – Cavalryman (uncredited)
Norman Ollestad as Stable Boy (uncredited)
Duke York as Man (uncredited)
Ray Teal as Marshall Noonan (uncredited)
Chief Yowlachie as Indian at Rifle Shoot (uncredited)
Guy Wilkerson as Virgil Earp (uncredited)

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